The Connection between Glaucoma and Diabetes- HealthifyMe

Glaucoma is a multifactorial situation characterised by a rise in intraocular stress. It can be a number one reason behind everlasting blindness, which considerably impacts the standard of life. One of probably the most distinguished danger elements is Diabetes mellitus, a illness which is rising at an alarming charge. Meta-analyses have revealed a 1.4 fold enhance in glaucoma danger in folks with diabetes. Here, we’ll additional discover the connection between diabetes and glaucoma. But, earlier than that, let’s perceive glaucoma.

Glaucoma: An Introduction

Glaucoma is a progressive illness of the eyes that happens on account of high-pressure build-up. As a outcome, this results in the gradual demise of retinal ganglion cells. Unfortunately, this illness is a number one reason behind irreversible blindness worldwide and has turn out to be a major well being difficulty. In addition, glaucoma adversely impacts the standard of life in affected people. A research evaluated the assorted issues of a glaucoma affected person, probably the most frequent points encountered had been studying, strolling on stairs, and recognising folks. 

According to knowledge, glaucoma falls into two broad classes: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. More than 80% of the instances are open-angle sorts. However, angle-closure glaucoma is accountable for a extra extreme sort of imaginative and prescient loss. In open-angle glaucoma, the stress within the eye builds very slowly, whereas it is rather sudden within the case of closed-angle or angle-closure glaucoma. Therefore, angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency which requires speedy therapy.

Pathogenesis of Glaucoma.

Over a million optic fibres journey by the optic nerve, which transmits the visible alerts from the receptors throughout the retina to the areas of the mind. As a outcome, our eyes produce a transparent fluid often known as the aqueous humour, which will get drained through sure meshworks. However, in glaucoma, there’s decreased drainage of aqueous humour. As a outcome, it will increase the extent of intraocular stress. This elevated stress may cause mechanical stress and pressure on the attention’s buildings. This stress and pressure trigger compression, deformation and remodelling of the optic nerves. It impacts visible acuity and could result in everlasting blindness in a couple of instances. 

Glaucoma is a illness that’s usually symptomless for lengthy intervals. The signs solely seem after vital harm has occurred. Hence, many individuals with glaucoma are often unaware of their state and solely discover out after it’s too late.

Does Diabetes Cause Glaucoma?

Several frequent mechanisms contribute to the potential hyperlink between glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. 

A research reveals that diabetes doubles the probabilities of having glaucoma. It may cause swelling within the macula, known as diabetic macular oedema. The a part of your retina that helps you learn, drive, and see faces is named the macula. Over some time, the illness can destroy the sharp imaginative and prescient on this a part of the attention. That results in blindness or partial imaginative and prescient loss. Usually, macular oedema develops in individuals who already produce other indicators of diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic Retinopathy: What is it?

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye fixed situation that may result in imaginative and prescient loss and blindness in individuals who have diabetes. It is among the most typical causes of blindness in adults between 30 and 65. Studies present that it accounts for five% of blindness globally and 15–17% of blindness in developed nations. The prevalence of Diabetic retinopathy will increase with the period of diabetes. Almost all people with sort 1 diabetes and most of these with sort 2 diabetes have some extent of Diabetic retinopathy after 20 years.

Cause of Diabetic Retinopathy

Hyperglycemia will increase the blood stream to the retina. It disrupts intracellular metabolism and results in impaired vascular autoregulation. The capillaries finally turn out to be unable to produce blood to the retinal cells, known as capillary hypoperfusion, which can finally result in capillary closure. Unfortunately, this results in the demise of retinal cells. The demise of retinal cells causes stimulation of development elements. These development elements trigger the formation of irregular blood vessels, which bleed and additional worsen the situation. 

Features of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a progressive situation that falls into two non-proliferative and proliferative phases. The nonproliferative stage causes micro-aneurysms and retinal haemorrhages. As it progresses, we are able to see venous bleeding and vascular abnormalities. This stage then advances to the proliferative section, the place the retina is severely broken. There is retinal fibrosis and scarring and the formation of recent blood vessels that always bleed. 

Diabetic Eye Disease: Who is at Risk?

Anyone with extended diabetes can develop diabetic eye illness. However, your danger is bigger if in case you have any of the 2 further circumstances, that are:

  • Unregulated High blood glucose ranges
  • Untreated High blood stress

Smoking and excessive blood ldl cholesterol may additionally increase your danger for diabetic eye illness.

Some teams are affected greater than others. For instance, African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Hispanics/Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and older adults are at larger danger of such illnesses.

If you turn out to be pregnant and have diabetes, you’ll be able to develop eye issues in a short time throughout your being pregnant. Furthermore, if you have already got some diabetic retinopathy, it might probably worsen throughout being pregnant. In addition, adjustments that assist your physique help a rising child could stress your eye’s blood vessels. Therefore, your well being care group will recommend common eye exams throughout being pregnant to catch and deal with issues early and shield your imaginative and prescient. However, one analysis claims that diabetes that happens solely throughout being pregnant, known as gestational diabetes, doesn’t often trigger eye issues. 

Prevention of Diabetic Retinopathy

It is crucial to keep up your blood sugar ranges to keep away from the danger of diabetic retinopathy and related glaucoma. In addition, sure eating regimen and life-style modifications can go a great distance in avoiding these circumstances.

Diet Modifications

1. Fruits and Vegetables

Studies have proven that the danger for diabetic retinopathy declines with elevated consumption of fruits and greens.

The mechanisms by which fruits and greens exert preventive results on diabetic retinopathy are unclear. Still, knowledge suggests it could be because of the involvement of vitamin C, carotene, retinol equal, and dietary fibre. In addition, a high-fruit-vegetable intervention can enhance carotene and vitamin C ranges in plasma.

Another chance is that the preventive results of fruits occur by glycemic management. Fruits are low-glycemic-index meals wealthy in dietary fibre, which might sluggish glucose response after ingestion. It may additionally be on account of dietary fibre that may scale back harm to the retina attributable to glucose.

Another research steered that adults with diabetes consuming extra flavonoid-rich fruits and greens had decrease levels of irritation, higher glycemic management, and diminished odds of diabetic retinopathy.

2. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

There are two foremost varieties of fat: Saturated and Unsaturated fatty acids. If a fats molecule has no double bonds, it’s saturated fats. If it has double bonds, it is named unsaturated fats. They are additional divided into polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. If a fats molecule has just one double bond, it’s known as monounsaturated fats. But if it has multiple bond, it’s known as polyunsaturated fats.

Polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat are wholesome fat, whereas saturated fat are unhealthy fat. Research has discovered that elevated Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids consumption was related to a diminished chance of the presence and severity of Diabetic retinopathy. In distinction, rising Saturated Fatty Acid consumption was related to an elevated likelihood of the presence and severity of Diabetic retinopathy. 

The two main courses of polyunsaturated fat are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are important fatty acids that means our our bodies can’t produce them, and we are able to solely procure them from the eating regimen. FOA/WHO recommends 250 mg/day or 30-40g/week.

Let’s see some meals wealthy in polyunsaturated fat.


Mackerel is a small fish which is well-liked in smoked kinds. According to USDA, 100 grams of mackerel accommodates 3.35 grams of PUFA. In addition, it’s wealthy in protein content material and has good ranges of vitamin E.


Salmon is a flexible and nutritionally wealthy meals. According to USDA, 100 grams of salmon accommodates round 2.5 grams of PUFA. In addition, it is usually wealthy in varied micronutrients like Vitamin B6, Folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin A.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are very dense in Polyunsaturated fatty acids. According to the USDA, 100 grams of Chia seeds comprise round 23.7 grams of PUFA. They are additionally wealthy in important amino acids required for constructing protein, hormones and enzymes.


Walnuts are nutritious meals wealthy in micronutrients like iron, manganese, potassium and vitamin E. According to USDA, 100 grams of Walnuts comprise 47.2 grams of PUFA. Also, they’re excessive in antioxidants which provide safety towards harm.

3. Mediterranean Diet

Studies have proven that larger adherence to the Mediterranean eating regimen can considerably scale back the danger of diabetic retinopathy. In addition, it reduces the danger of general mortality, cardiovascular illnesses, coronary coronary heart illness, myocardial infarction, general most cancers incidence, neurodegenerative illnesses and sort 2 diabetes.

The Mediterranean eating regimen accommodates conventional components, flavours, cooking strategies, and consuming habits of the folks of the nations alongside the Mediterranean Sea. In the start, it drew on the cuisines of Greece, Turkey, Italy, and Spain. In many years since, it has additionally included different Mediterranean cuisines, similar to these within the Levant and North Africa. The Mediterranean Diet is a predominantly plant-based eating regimen based mostly round greens, complete grains, and beans. It advocates much less consumption of pink meat.

The normal ideas of the Mediterranean eating regimen are as follows:

  • Consume these day by day: Leafy greens, greens, fruits, complete grains, beans, nuts, and legumes.
  • Consume these meals weekly: Lean proteins from fish, some poultry, and eggs.
  • Try to keep away from these meals: Red meats and sweets.
  • Use Extra Virgin olive oil usually: According to a research, the Mediterranean eating regimen with olive oil results in an over 40% diminished danger of retinopathy.
  • Avoid processed meals.

Lifestyle Modifications

1. Physical Activity

According to a research, weight problems elevated the incidence of Diabetic retinopathy in sufferers with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Physical exercise and watching your energy can get you right into a wholesome weight vary and keep away from the issues of diabetes mellitus.

Physical exercise improves glucose management in Type 2 diabetes mellitus and decreases the danger of cardiovascular problems, contributes to weight reduction and improves effectively being. DM sufferers main a sedentary life-style have the next danger of diabetic retinopathy than these dwelling actively. Less bodily energetic folks with diabetes confirmed elevated blood stream within the retina on exertion.

According to knowledge, weight and resistance-based coaching successfully obtain glycemic management. Aerobics workouts are additionally appropriate for glycemic management. Examples of cardio workouts embody:

  • Walking 
  • Jogging
  • Cycling 
  • Swimming
  • Rowing
  • Zumba

2. Avoid Alcohol Consumption

According to a research, alcohol could result in the next danger of degradation of visible acuity and oxidative stress. These are considerably associated to the danger of Diabetic retinopathy. Please observe that alcohol habit could result in neglect of therapy, thus rising the danger of DR growth.

3. Stimulants

A research reveals that tea acts as a potent neuroprotector within the retina. Tea can shield diabetic retinal neurons and thereby forestall diabetic retinopathy. Moreover, a low dose of inexperienced tea is more likely to enhance antioxidant defences. Black tea helps in sustaining correct glycemic management.

Coffee is among the most consumed drinks worldwide. Coffee accommodates microelements that present antioxidant results, similar to manganese, zinc, copper and iron. As a outcome, it helps in reducing the danger of diabetic retinopathy. 


Glaucoma is a situation characterised by a rise within the intraocular stress of the eyes. This elevated stress damages the neuronal and retinal cells, resulting in everlasting blindness. Diabetes is a situation which causes a number of issues, together with Diabetic retinopathy. This situation causes the formation of irregular blood vessels, which forestall the drainage of the aqueous humour produced by our eyes. Also, it causes a rise within the intraocular stress resulting in secondary glaucoma, often known as neurovascular glaucoma. In this mentioned manner, diabetes will increase glaucoma danger, considerably reducing high quality of life. To forestall issues of diabetes, it’s important to keep up your blood sugar ranges. In addition, particular eating regimen and life-style modifications like switching to a Mediterranean eating regimen, together with wholesome fat, vitamin C wealthy meals, and bodily exercise, can lower the danger of diabetic retinopathy. 

Frequently requested questions (FAQs)

Q. Why does diabetes trigger glaucoma?

A.Diabetes causes a set of issues, certainly one of which is diabetic retinopathy. Higher blood sugar ranges trigger a rise in blood stream, resulting in adjustments in two phases: Non-proliferative and proliferative phases. In the proliferative section, there is a rise in irregular blood vessels. These blood vessels hinder the drainage of aqueous humour, which results in elevated intraocular stress. As a outcome, this enhance in stress damages retinal cells and neuronal cells, often known as secondary or neurovascular glaucoma.  

Q. Is there a relationship between glaucoma and diabetes?

A.Yes, the connection between glaucoma and diabetes has been proved in a number of research. Diabetic retinopathy renders the attention unable to empty aqueous humour. It causes a rise in intraocular stress and secondary glaucoma. The danger of glaucoma is elevated by 1.4 fold in folks with diabetes. 

Q. Can diabetic glaucoma be handled?

A. People with diabetes are usually in danger for open-angle glaucoma. Glaucoma is handled the identical manner as for non-people with diabetes by reducing the attention stress with drugs, laser, and surgical procedure if wanted. 

Q. What sort of glaucoma do diabetics get?

A.Glaucoma is primarily of two sorts: Open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle/angle-closure glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is a situation that happens over time, whereas angle-closure glaucoma happens in a really brief time and turns into a medical emergency. According to a research, folks with diabetes are in danger for open-angle sort glaucoma. There is an virtually 36% elevated probability of getting open-angle glaucoma in folks with diabetes. 

Q. Can diabetes have an effect on the optic nerve?

A. According to knowledge, diabetic retinopathy is attributable to excessive blood sugar on account of diabetes. Over some time, having an excessive amount of sugar in your blood can harm your retina. It is the a part of your eye that detects gentle and sends alerts to your mind by the optic nerve. It doesn’t instantly harm the optic nerve. However, it damages the retina, related to the optic nerve. 

Q. What share of diabetics get glaucoma?

A.Diabetics are at an elevated danger of getting glaucoma. However, this doesn’t imply that every one folks with diabetes may have glaucoma. Maintaining your blood sugar ranges and life-style modifications can maintain diabetic issues away. According to a research, the prevalence of glaucoma in folks with diabetes is about 4.96% to 14.6%. 

Q. How are you able to inform if diabetes is affecting your eyes?

A.According to knowledge, the early phases of diabetic retinopathy often don’t have any signs. However, some folks discover adjustments of their imaginative and prescient, like bother, studying or seeing faraway objects. In later phases, there is perhaps retinal bleeding. You may even see darkish, floating spots or streaks that appear like cobwebs if this occurs.  

Q. What is retinopathy diabetes?

A.Diabetic retinopathy is an eye fixed situation that may trigger imaginative and prescient loss and blindness in individuals who have diabetes. It impacts blood vessels within the retina. It has two phases: The nonproliferative and Proliferative phases. 

The nonproliferative stage causes micro-aneurysms and retinal haemorrhages. The proliferative stage kinds irregular blood vessels which bleed simply. 

Q. What does your imaginative and prescient appear like with glaucoma?

A.You may even see darkish, floating spots or streaks that appear like cobwebs. You could require extra gentle, and the imaginative and prescient is perhaps blurry, and you would possibly see glare. According to a research, Symptoms reported could have been on account of lack of distinction sensitivity, acuity or area. 

Q. Do all diabetics go blind?

A.No, diabetic retinopathy happens in long-standing instances, that’s over 20 years. However, sustaining good glycemic management and life-style adjustments may also help forestall diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy doesn’t essentially imply blindness. You can deal with it with drugs and surgical procedure within the preliminary phases. 

Q. How lengthy does it take to go blind from diabetes?

A.It relies on your glycemic management and the period for which you have got diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy usually begins after 5 years of getting diabetes. However, virtually all diabetics have retinal harm after 20 years. This could also be detected early and corrected to forestall additional harm and blindness. 

Q. Which is the primary stage of diabetic retinopathy?

A.There are 4 phases in diabetic retinopathy. They are 

Stage 1 is Mild nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. Next, stage 2 is Moderate nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. The stage 3 is Severe nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. Stage 4 is Proliferative diabetic retinopathy and stage 5 is sufferers ought to have a dilated eye examination each 12 months. 

Q. Can glaucoma be stopped?

A. Treatment can’t reverse the harm attributable to glaucoma. However, therapy and common checkups may also help sluggish or forestall imaginative and prescient loss, particularly if recognized early. Glaucoma is handled by drugs, laser or surgical procedure if required.

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