Too many people are not aware that diabetes increases the chances vision loss. Diabetes is the main cause of blindness in adults between 20 and 74 according to the National Institute of Health. One of the risks of diabetes is retinal damage caused by an increase in pressure in the blood vessels of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. This condition is a particularly serious complication of the disease and it is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.
In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy often presents no noticeable symptoms. Vision problems eventually develop when the retinal blood vessels begin to leak fluid, oil and small amounts of blood into the retina. When it is not diagnosed, blood vessels may be blocked or new vessels may begin to grow on the retina leading to irreparable loss of sight.
Since signs are often not noticed until vision is already at risk it is crucial to schedule an annual comprehensive 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 schedule a visit with your optometrist. In addition to diabetic retinopathy, diabetics are at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma.
The risk of diabetic eye disease is higher when glucose levels are uncontrolled. Monitoring your diabetes through diet, exercise and staying healthy and yearly eye exams is the best defense for preserving your vision.
If you or a loved one is diabetic, be sure you know the risks of diabetic eye disease and speak to your optometrist if you have any questions. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.