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Quality Health Care and You - Diabetes

Vision Problems and Diabetes

05/22/2008

Question:

My husband is being tested for Diabetes Type 2. The doctor prescribed glucovance 2.5/500mg. After just a few days, his vision has gotten worse, he cannot focus, and his eyes appear hazy. Could this be due to the medication? His doctor said just to give it awhile to work.

Answer:

There are a number of vision problems that can develop in people with diabetes. Poor blood sugar control or changes in blood sugar control are among the reasons for blurring of vision. This blurring occurs because the lens of the eye is unable to adjust and bring the image into focus. The abnormality in the lens function is because changes in the amount of sugar or products of metabolism of the sugar causes accompanying shifts in the amount of water in the lens, interfering with its ability to adjust. Generally this blurriness develops over the course of days-to-weeks. Treating the diabetes may also require days-to-weeks for the blurring to clear up. Frequently, we tell people to NOT have their eyeglass prescription changed under these circumstances because the eyeglass correction chosen when the blood sugar is abnormal may not work when the blood sugar is normalized. Sometimes, the blurring does get worse before it gets better during the course of correcting the blood sugar. So I agree with your doctor that your husband needs to be a bit patient. If the vision still has not corrected after the improvement in blood sugar, I would then look into alternate explanations. This is among the most easily treatable of the vision problems associated with diabetes.

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Response by:

Robert M Cohen, MD Robert M Cohen, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati