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Type 2 diabetes symptoms: Four signs in your eyes to look out for

Type 2 diabetes can go undiagnosed for a long time, as people may not notice the symptoms. Look for four signs in your eyes that reveal you’ve been secretly living with the health condition for long enough to cause complications.

The NHS explains type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough of the hormone insulin.

Either the pancreas doesn’t create enough insulin, or the body’s cells become insulin resistant – meaning they don’t react to insulin.

Insulin acts as the key messenger to allow blood sugar (glucose) – that comes from the foods we eat – to enter our body’s cells to enable them to function.


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Glucose is the energy source for cells so that they can function properly.

This explains why people with type 2 diabetes begin to feel tired because of the condition.

However, many people can pass off tiredness as the result of everyday stressors in life.

This is why it becomes easy for people to ignore the warning signs that they’re suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Over time, too much glucose in the bloodstream (as it isn’t absorbed by cells) damages blood vessels.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when changes happen in retinal (eye) blood vessels – this is one complication of leaving type 2 diabetes untreated.

Once the disease as advanced, there are four symptoms to look out for. These include:

  • Sudden changes in vision/blurred vision
  • Eye floaters and spots
  • Double vision
  • Eye pain

When blood vessels are damaged in the retina, it may cause haemorrhages, exudates (blood proteins) and swelling.

Following on from this, the retina is then starved of oxygen.

As a result, abnormal vessels may begin to grow.

There are three stages of diabetic retinopathy: background retinopathy, diabetic maculopathy and proliferative retinopathy.

According to the NHS, 1,280 new cases of blindness are caused by diabetic retinopathy every year.


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Background retinopathy

Background retinopathy involves tiny swellings in the walls of blood vessels.

Referred to as “blebs,” they appear as small dots on the retina and are usually accompanied by yellow patches of exudates (blood proteins).

Diabetic maculopathy

Diabetic maculopathy causes vision problems, such as difficulty reading or seeing faces in the centre of your vision.

This is due to the fact that the macula provides us with our central vision.

And, when this stage of diabetic retinopathy occurs, blebs move into the macula.

Proliferative retinopathy

Proliferative retinopathy describes when the retina becomes blocked, causing the growth of abnormal blood vessels.

These can then bleed into the eyes, cause the retina to detach, and seriously damage vision. If left untreated, this can lead to blindness.

Diabetes UK list the common early symptoms of type 2 diabetes, which are:

  • Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night
  • Being really thirsty
  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Losing weight without trying to
  • Genital itching or thrush
  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal
  • Blurred vision

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  • Posted on March 15, 2020