Too many people are not aware that diabetes increases the chances blindness. Diabetes is the main cause of total vision loss in adults under 75 years old according to the NIH. One of the most serious complications of diabetes is when the retina is damaged by excessive 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 has affected over 3.7 million people in America in the past decade. This number is projected to reach 11 million cases by 2030.
Early on, this condition often presents no noticeable symptoms. When the pressure in the blood vessels in the retina builds up they begin to leak resulting in retinal damage. This will result in eventual blindness if it is not treated.
Because symptoms are often not seen until vision is already at risk it is crucial to see your optometrist on a yearly basis to perform a comprehensive eye exam if you have diabetes. 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 your optometrist. Diabetics are also at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma due to the strain it causes on the eyes.
There are ways prevent vision loss as a result of diabetes, but the disease must be diagnosed early. In addition to making sure to schedule a comprehensive eye exam on a yearly basis if you are diabetic, controlling your blood sugar levels is vital to preserving your vision.
If you or a loved one is diabetic, be sure you know preventing diabetic retinopathy and other eye risks and speak to your eye doctor to discuss questions or concerns. In this case, knowledge really is the key to sight.