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From Chicago, Illinois, USA:

I am 28 years old and just recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I am also nearsighted and have been for about 7 years. After a week and half of taking Insulin, my vision has improved so much that I don't even need to wear glasses anymore. Is this a normal reaction? Should I assume it is temporary? Has this been documented in any other Type 1 cases?


The story is usually the other way round, in other words people with normal vision who become diabetic may have problems for a week or two after they have been first stabilised.

The usual explanation is that glucose concentration inside the eye is normally in a rather sluggish equilibrium with glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose however is much slower to equilibrate than water. Your eyes had probably been accustomed to high blood sugars for several weeks; but when you started to take insulin your blood would have become slightly more dilute and water would have temporarily moved into the chambers of the eye by a process called osmosis. This would then have minimally increased pressure in the eye and so changed its shape to a more spherical one from the rather elongated shape there is in myopia. As a result distant vision becomes normal again.

I am afraid that you are right though and that this will be only temporary because as the fluids inside the eye adjust to the more normal glucose concentrations that insulin affords, the shape of the eyeball will return to its slightly elongated form and with it the refractive error. So don't throw away your glasses!


Original posting 3 Feb 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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