Did you know that having diabetes puts you at risk for vision threatening eye damage? The NIH reports that diabetes is the leading cause of complete vision loss among adults aged 20 to 74 years old. One of the risks of diabetes is when the retina is damaged by increased 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 since 2002. This number is expected to reach 11 million cases by 2030.
Diabetic retinopathy can be unnoticed until considerable retinal damage is done. When the pressure in the retinal blood vessels builds up they begin to leak resulting in irreparable damage to the retina. This will result in eventual blindness if it is not treated.
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 make sure to see an eye doctor. Diabetics are also at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma due to the strain it causes on the eyes.
The risk of diabetic eye disease is higher when the disease is uncontrolled. Carefully monitoring your diabetes through diet, exercise and staying healthy and annual eye exams is the best defense for keeping your eyes healthy.
If you or a loved one is diabetic, be sure you know preventing diabetic eye disease and speak to your eye doctor to discuss questions or concerns. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.