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The Link Between Sugar And Eye Health

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Did you know that the average American consumes a shocking 61 pounds of refined sugar per year?

Although delicious, sugar in excessive amounts can pose serious damage to your overall health, including your eyes. In fact, sugar has been linked to several serious eye conditions and diseases.

At EYEcenter Optometric, we care about your eyes, which means we also care about how you nourish them. Read on to learn how such a sweet molecule can wreak havoc on your eyes and vision.

How Sugar Can Affect Your Eyes

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and can lead to blindness if left untreated.

With diabetic retinopathy, the high levels of sugar in the blood damage the delicate, tiny blood vessels in the retina (the back, light-sensitive portion of the eye).

Diabetics can help prevent or minimize the damage caused by diabetic retinopathy by maintaining a stable blood sugar level, exercising, and regularly visiting their eye doctor.


High blood sugar and insulin levels can cause the eyes’ blood vessels to narrow, causing a buildup of fluid that can’t properly drain. With glaucoma, this fluid buildup increases inner eye pressure, which leads to optic nerve damage. In 90% of glaucoma cases there are no early symptoms or warning signs as the pressure builds, so people aren’t aware that their eyesight is being irreparably damaged.

People with diabetes are almost twice as likely to develop glaucoma as those without diabetes.


Your eye’s natural lens allows your eye to focus light on your retina. In a healthy eye, the lens is clear, but in a person with cataracts, the lens is clouded, making it difficult for the eye to focus incoming light.

Elevated blood sugar can cause the lens to swell and change, putting you at a higher risk of developing cataracts.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD occurs when the macula (central portion of the retina) deteriorates, impairing central vision and affecting one’s ability to drive, read, and do other activities.

Several studies have linked a high-glycemic (high sugar/carbohydrate) diet with the onset and progression of AMD.

How We Can Help

Keeping your eyes healthy goes beyond a healthy diet and lifestyle — you also need yearly eye exams to detect early signs of eye disease.

At EYEcenter Optometric, we provide a wide range of eye care services, including diabetic eye care. So, enjoy some sugar here and there, but not in excess. And don’t skip your next eye exam.

You can visit us at one of our 5 convenient locations in Citrus Heights, Gold River, Rocklin, Folsom, and Sacramento.

To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call us today!

At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

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