Are you aware that being diabetic puts you at risk for serious eye damage? According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) diabetes is the primary cause of complete vision loss among individuals aged 20 to 74 years old. 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 is one of the most incapacitating complications of the disease and it has affected over 3.7 million people in the U.S. since 2002.
Diabetic retinopathy can be unnoticed until it is too late. When the pressure in the blood vessels in the retina builds up they start to leak causing retinal damage. This will result in eventual blindness if it is not treated.
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 schedule a visit with your optometrist. In addition to diabetic retinopathy, diabetics are at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma.
All diabetic eye diseases are more damaging when glucose levels are uncontrolled. Controlling your sugar levels through diet, exercise and staying healthy and yearly eye exams is the best defense for preventing vision loss.
This month, spread awareness of the risks of diabetic eye disease and consult with your optometrist to discuss questions or concerns. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.