Each year, tens of thousands of diabetics will go blind as a result of the disease. Diabetes-related blindness is caused by diabetic retinopathy, a process which degenerates blood vessels to the retina, the nerve that sends sight messages to the brain.
Diabetics are also prone to cataracts, glaucoma and swelling of eye tissue. Some experts estimate that 90 percent of cases could be prevented by annual eye exams-early detection and treatment are key to maintaining sight.
Diet may also play a role; research also suggests that antioxidants found in certain fruits and vegetables may slow or prevent degeneration of eye tissue.