Are you aware that being diabetic puts you at risk for serious eye damage? Diabetes is the leading cause of total vision loss in people between the ages of 20 and 74 according to recent studies by the National Institute of Health. One of the most serious complications of diabetes is when the retina is damaged by increased pressure in the blood vessels of the eye, which is called diabetic retinopathy. This condition is a particularly serious complication of the disease and it has affected over 3.7 million people in the United States over the past decade. This number is expected to reach 11 million cases by 2030.
Diabetic retinopathy can be undetected until there has been significant vision loss. When the pressure in the retinal blood vessels increases they start to leak resulting in permanent damage to the retina. This damage 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 make sure to see an eye doctor. Cataracts and glaucoma are also more common in individuals with diabetes than in the average population.
All diabetic eye diseases are more damaging when the disease is uncontrolled. Carefully monitoring your diabetes through diet, exercise and staying healthy and yearly eye exams is the best defense for keeping your eyes healthy.
This month, spread awareness of the risks of diabetic eye disease and consult with your eye doctor to discuss questions or concerns. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.