Are you aware that being diabetic puts you at risk for vision loss? Diabetes is the main cause of loss of sight in adults under 75 years old according to recent studies by 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. 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 can be asymptomatic until it is too late. Loss of sight ultimately develops 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 become completely stopped up or new unwanted vessels may begin to grow on the retina leading to irreparable loss of sight.
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 make sure to see your optometrist. Diabetics are also at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma due to the strain it causes on the eyes.
All diabetic eye diseases are more damaging when the disease is uncontrolled. Controlling your diabetes through diet, exercise and staying healthy and annual eye exams is the best combination for preventing vision loss.
If you or a loved one is diabetic, make sure you are knowledgeable about preventing diabetic eye disease and consult with your eye doctor if you have any questions. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.