Far too many people are unaware of the fact that diabetes increases the chances vision threatening eye damage. The NIH reports that in individuals between 20 and 74, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness. One of the risks of diabetes is when the retina is damaged by an increase in pressure in the blood vessels of the eye, which is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most incapacitating complications of the disease and it is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.
Diabetic retinopathy is often unnoticed until significant damage is done. Vision problems occur when the retinal blood vessels begin to leak fluid, oil and small amounts of blood into the retina. If the disease is not detected, blood vessels could be blocked or new vessels may begin to grow on the retina leading to irreparable vision loss.
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 sure to see an optometrist. Diabetes also increases the risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts.
The risk of diabetic eye disease is higher when the disease is uncontrolled. Monitoring your sugar levels through diet, exercise and staying healthy and yearly eye exams is the best defense for preventing vision loss.
If you or a loved one has diabetes, be sure you are knowledgeable about preventing diabetic retinopathy and other eye risks and consult with your optometrist if you have any questions. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.