Are you aware that being diabetic puts you at risk for serious eye damage? 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 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 one of the most incapacitating complications of the disease and it has affected over 3.7 million people in America since 2002.
In its early stages, this condition is often asymptomatic. When the pressure in the retinal blood vessels increases they begin to leak resulting in retinal damage. This can cause vision loss and when not treated, blindness.
Because symptoms are often not seen until it is too late it is important to schedule a yearly comprehensive eye exam if you are diabetic. Warning signs of diabetic retinopathy include any kind of vision problems such as fluctuations, spots, shadows, double or blurred vision or pain. Diabetics are also at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma due to the strain it causes on the eyes.
There are ways slow the progression of diabetic eye diseases and stop further loss of vision as a result of diabetes, however the disease must be diagnosed early. In addition to making sure that you have a regular eye exam annually if you are diabetic, controlling your blood sugar levels is essential to keeping your eyes healthy.
If you or a loved one has diabetes, be sure you know preventing diabetic eye disease and speak to your eye doctor if you have any questions. In this case, knowledge really is the key to a lifetime of healthy vision.