Did you know that being diabetic increases your chances of vision threatening eye damage? Diabetes is the leading cause of loss of sight in people between the ages of 20 and 74 according to recent studies by the NIH. One of the risks of diabetes is retinal damage caused by increased pressure in the blood vessels of the eye, which is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy causes severe vision impairment and even blindness. Anyone with the disease is at risk and it is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.
Diabetic retinopathy is often unnoticed until it is too late. When the pressure in the blood vessels in the retina increases they start to leak resulting in retinal damage. This damage will result in eventual blindness if it is not treated.
Since symptoms are often not seen until significant damage is done it is imperative to see your eye doctor on a yearly basis to perform a diabetic eye exam if you are diabetic. Warning signs of diabetic retinopathy include fluctuating vision, eye floaters and spots, shadows in the field of view, blurred vision, corneal abnormalities, seeing double, eye pain and near vision problems that have nothing to do with presbyopia. Diabetes also increases the risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts.
With early detection and treatment, we can prevent vision loss. In addition to making sure to schedule a diabetic eye exam annually if you are diabetic, controlling your diabetes is vital to preserving your vision. Make sure to keep your glucose levels within normal limits and monitor and control your blood pressure. Include exercise and proper nutrition in your lifestyle.
This month, spread awareness of the risks of diabetic eye disease and consult with your eye doctor to discuss questions or concerns. In this case, ignorance could cost you your precious eyesight