Are you aware that a diagnosis of diabetes puts you at risk for vision threatening eye damage? The NIH reports that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults between 20 and 74. One of the most serious complications of diabetes is retinal damage caused by excessive 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 has affected over 3.7 million people in America since 2002.
Diabetic retinopathy can be asymptomatic until there has been significant vision loss. Vision problems occur when the blood vessels in the retina begin to leak fluid, oil and small amounts of blood into the retina. As the disease develops, blood vessels may be blocked or additional unwanted vessels may begin to form on the retina leading to irreparable loss of sight.
If you have diabetes 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 an optometrist. Diabetes also increases the risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts.
All diabetic eye diseases are more damaging when the disease is uncontrolled. Carefully monitoring your diabetes through diet, exercise and staying healthy and yearly eye exams is the best combination for preserving your vision.
This month, spread awareness of the risks of diabetic retinopathy and speak to your optometrist to discuss questions or concerns. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.