Are you aware that having diabetes puts you at risk for eye and vision damage? According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) in individuals between 20 and 74, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness. One of the most serious complications of diabetes is when the retina is damaged by increased pressure in the blood vessels of the eye, which is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a particularly serious complication of the disease and it has affected over 3.7 million people in America since 2002.
In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy often presents no noticeable symptoms. When the pressure in the blood vessels in the retina builds up they begin to leak causing irreparable damage to the retina. This can cause vision loss and when not treated, blindness.
Warning signs of developing diabetic retinopathy include fluctuating vision, eye floaters and spots, shadows in the field of view, blurred vision, corneal abnormalities, double vision, eye pain and near vision problems that have nothing to do with presbyopia. 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. Controlling your diabetes through diet, exercise and staying healthy and yearly eye exams is the best defense for preserving your eye sight.
This month, spread awareness of the risks of diabetic retinopathy and consult with your eye doctor to discuss questions or concerns. In this case, knowledge really is the key to sight.