Did you know that living with diabetes increases your chances of blindness? Research 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 when the retina is damaged by increased pressure in the blood vessels of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. This condition causes severe vision impairment and even blindness. Anyone with the disease is at risk and it has affected over 3.7 million people in America since 2002.
Diabetic retinopathy is often asymptomatic until it is too late. When the pressure in the blood vessels in the retina builds up they start to leak resulting in retinal damage. This leads to eventual blindness if it is not treated.
Because symptoms are often not noticed until significant damage is done it is crucial to have 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 an optometrist. In addition to diabetic retinopathy, diabetics are at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma.
With early diagnosis and treatment, we can stop loss of vision. In addition to making sure that you have a diabetic eye exam once a year if you are diabetic, keeping your diabetes under control is vital to keeping your eyes healthy.
If you or a loved one is diabetic, be sure you are knowledgeable about the risks of diabetic retinopathy and other eye risks and speak to your optometrist if you have any questions. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.