Diabetes is a complex disease which can effect you in a number of ways. Many people aren't aware of how it can put you at risk of developing several eye-related diseases. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma, and also several other conditions that, even though they may be seemingly unrelated to your sight, can worsen the health of the eye, and your vision.
What is diabetic retinopathy? It occurs due to high blood glucose levels causing damage to the retina. It can also lead to blindness in adults.
A pretty natural result of aging, cataracts, which create vision impairment due to the clouding of the eyeí´s lens, tend to develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes.
Individuals with diabetes are double as likely to develop glaucoma, which is a serious, sight-threatening condition. Glaucoma is characterized by optic nerve damage, which can lead to the worsening of vision. If glaucoma goes untreated, the damage can lead to blindness.
All diabetes sufferers, type 1 or 2, are at a higher chance of developing diabetic eye disease. The risk heightens further if the diabetes is uncontrolled. Additional risks include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Length of the disease
- Bad diet and exercise habits
- Race í research suggests that African-Americans and Hispanics may be more susceptible to developing diabetic retinopathy and vision loss.
Symptoms of diabetic eye diseases often change with blood sugar levels. These generally include:
- Blurry or distorted vision which is subject to fluctuation
- Blind spots or floaters
- Double vision
- Eye Pain
- Development of scotoma or a shadow in the field of view
- Problems with near vision
- Corneal abrasions
It's essential to note that diabetic eye disease can develop before symptoms become apparent.
Early detection can mean the difference between sight and total blindness and is often central to preventing subsequent vision loss and recovery of sight, if possible. With this is mind, it is strongly advised that diabetes sufferers go get an annual eye exam to keep tabs on their eye health. If you or someone you care for has diabetes, it's so important to be sure you know about diabetic eye disease. A yearly eye exam, and proper preventative measures, can save your vision.