Did you know that diabetes is the number one precursor to vision loss among men and women aged 20-74 years? If not, you are not alone. As of 2008, over 4 million individuals in North America living with diabetes were tested positive for blindness caused by diabetes. Of this number, seventy thousand had severe diabetic retinopathy, which, if left unmonitored, will lead to irreversible loss of vision.
While not every individual is at risk of diabetic retinopathy, it is essential to know the link between the disease and blindness.
Having diabetes is the first risk factor. The best way to find out if you have vision loss caused by diabetes is to have your optometrist perform an eye exam regularly. The longer the disease remains unchecked, the greater the danger of diabetes related vision loss. Timely treatment will go a long way in halting further loss.
Pregnant women that are found to have pregnancy-related diabetes have a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is important to undergo a complete dilated eye examination after diagnosis as well.
You may be curious as to why all the panic? Wouldn't there be tell tale symptoms of blindness?
The truth is, not necessarily. There are many forms of diabetic retinopathy, and only those which are in the advanced phases are easy to discern. Proliferative diabetes and macular edema are diabetes related diseases which result in serious sight loss. Both conditions may appear with no obvious symptoms. This is why early detection is central to saving yourself from lasting injury.
A thorough test will detect signs of diabetic retinopathy. There are individual parts to this exam which will show the tell-tale indicators, including damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is entailed in a comprehensive eye test?
First of all you will undergo a visual acuity exam by means of an eye chart which is used to check how well you see at varying distances. This is just like the visual acuity checks given by your eye doctor to see if you require corrective lenses.
To give a dilated eye exam, the optometrist puts drops in your eyes to amplify your pupils. Though not a particularly beloved test by most patients, it can save you a lot of heartache further down the road. This measure makes it possible to see a larger section of the interior portion of your eyes to look for unique symptoms that imply the presence of diabetic retinopathy. The fleeting discomfort may save your ability to see.
Take care of your sight. Even a little laziness might cause severe loss. If you are diabetic, it is important to book an eye examination with your eye doctor today.