Diabetes is the chief cause of impaired sight among men and women aged 20-74 years. In the past four years alone, over 4 million adults in North America suffering from diabetes were subsequently diagnosed with diabetes related blindness. Of this group, 70,000 were afflicted with acute diabetic retinopathy, which may result in a serious vision loss.
While not everyone is at risk of diabetes related vision loss, it is important to know the relation between the disease and blindness.
Firstly, those diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk. The best method to find out if you have diabetic retinopathy is to have your optometrist perform an eye exam regularly. The longer the disease remains undiagnosed, the greater the danger of diabetes caused blindness. Timely treatment is the key to halting further deterioration.
Women who are pregnant that are diagnosed with gestational diabetes have a better likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is crucial to have a complete dilated eye exam after diagnosis as well.
You may wonder, why all the worry? Wouldn't you notice if you were losing your sight?
Well the truth is, not always. There are several types of diabetic retinopathy, and only those in the severe phases are easily discernible. Progressive diabetes can have no symptoms. Macular edema is another diabetes related disease which results in severe vision deterioration. Both afflictions may appear with no obvious signs. This is a reason that early diagnosis is the key to preventing long term damage.
A complete test will search for indications of diabetic retinopathy. There are several stages to this exam which will expose the standard clues, such as damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is involved in a complete vision exam?
First of all you will undergo a visual acuity test by means of an eye chart that is used to determine how correctly you can see at varying distances. This is the same as the visual acuity checks given by your eye doctor to see if you need glasses.
During a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor places drops in your eyes to dilate the size of your pupils. Though not a particularly beloved test by the squeamish, it can prevent a loss of autonomy in 10-15 years. This practice makes it possible to see a larger section of the interior portion of your eyes to look for distinct symptoms that imply the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy. The cursory discomfort could save your eye sight.
It is important to value your health. Even a little complacency can lead to serious deterioration. If you are diabetic, it is important to schedule a vision examination with an eye doctor once a year without fail.