Did you know that a diagnosis of diabetes increases your chances of serious eye damage? A recent study by the National Institute of Health (NIH) indicates that in individuals between 20 and 74, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness. One of the risks of diabetes is retinal damage caused by an increase in pressure in the blood vessels of the eye, which is called diabetic retinopathy. This condition is a particularly serious complication of the disease and it has affected over 3.7 million people in America over the past decade.
Diabetic retinopathy is often undetected until it is too late. When the pressure in the retinal blood vessels increases they start to leak resulting in retinal damage. This damage leads to vision loss and when not treated, blindness.
Because signs are often not seen until significant damage is done it is crucial to see your optometrist annually to perform a diabetic eye exam if you are diabetic. If you are diabetic and you notice any sort of vision problems, such as fluctuations in eyesight, floaters, double vision, shadows or spots or any pain in your eye make an appointment with your optometrist. Diabetics are also at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma due to the strain it causes on the eyes.
The risk of diabetic eye disease is higher when blood sugar levels are uncontrolled. Controlling your diabetes through diet, exercise and staying healthy and yearly eye exams is the best defense for preserving your eye sight.
If you or a loved one is diabetic, make sure you are knowledgeable about the risks of diabetic retinopathy and other eye risks and speak to your eye doctor to discuss questions or concerns. In this case, ignorance could cost you your vision