Far too many people are not aware that diabetes increases the risk of vision threatening eye damage. Diabetes is the primary cause of total vision loss in adults between the ages of 20 and 74 according to the NIH. One of the risks 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 is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.
In its early stages, this condition often presents no noticeable symptoms. When the pressure in the blood vessels in the retina builds up they start to leak resulting in permanent damage to the retina. This leads to eventual blindness if it is not treated.
Since signs are often not seen until significant damage is done it is imperative to book a yearly comprehensive eye exam if you have diabetes. 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 eye doctor. Diabetics are also at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma due to the strain it causes on the eyes.
With early detection and treatment, we can prevent loss of vision. In addition to making sure that you have a comprehensive eye exam on a yearly basis if you are diabetic, controlling your glucose levels is necessary to keeping your eyes healthy. Keep your blood sugar levels within normal limits and monitor and control your blood pressure. Include exercise and proper nutrition in your lifestyle.
This month, spread awareness of the risks of diabetic retinopathy and consult with your eye doctor if you have any questions. In this case, knowledge really is the key to a lifetime of healthy vision.