Diabetes is a complex condition which can lead to a multitude of health problems. 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, as well as several other conditions that can impact the health of the eye, and your vision.
What is diabetic retinopathy? It occurs as a result of high blood glucose levels causing damage to the retina. It can also lead to blindness in adults.
Cataracts, which are fairly common in old age, and which cause a clouding of the eye's lens, and the subsequent worsening of vision, usually develop earlier in people with diabetes.
Your odds of developing glaucoma, another condition that can result in loss of vision, increase by fifty percent when you suffer from diabetes. Glaucoma results in optic nerve damage, which can lead to loss of vision. If this goes untreated, the damage can be irreparable.
All individuals with diabetes, and it doesn't matter if it is type 1 or type 2 - are at increased risk of diabetic eye disease, even more so if their diabetes isn't properly treated. Other risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor diet and exercise, and smoking.
Symptoms of diabetic eye diseases often vary with blood sugar levels, and may include:
- Seeing double
- Blurred vision and blind spots
- Trouble with near vision
- Corneal abrasions
It's really important to be aware that diabetic eye disease can develop before symptoms are noticed.
Detecting the disease before these symptoms surface can mean the difference between retaining and losing sight, and is usually a prerequisite for avoiding further loss of vision and recovery of sight. For this reason, it is strongly advised that those with diabetes go get a yearly eye exam to monitor their eye health. If you or someone you care for has diabetes, it's so important to be sure you know about how to steer clear of diabetic eye disease. Annual eye exams, and proper preventative measures, can make the difference between a world of sight and a world of darkness.