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How Diabetes Impacts Your Eyes

Did you know that having diabetes increases your chances of vision threatening eye damage? The NIH reports that in individuals between 20 and 74, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness. One of the most serious complications of diabetes is when the retina is damaged by an increase in pressure in the blood vessels of the eye, which is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy causes severe vision impairment and even blindness. Anyone with the disease is at risk and it has affected over 3.7 million people in America in the past decade. This number is expected to reach 11 million cases by 2030.

Early on, this condition is often asymptomatic. When the pressure in the blood vessels in the retina builds up they start to leak causing irreparable damage to the retina. This damage will result in vision loss and when not treated, blindness.

Because signs are often not seen until significant damage is done it is important to book an annual diabetic eye exam if you are diabetic. If you are diabetic 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 an appointment with an optometrist. Diabetes also increases the risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts.

There are effective treatments to slow the progression of diabetic eye diseases and stop further loss of sight as a result of diabetes, but the disease must be diagnosed early. In addition to making sure to schedule a regular eye exam on a yearly basis if you are diabetic, controlling your glucose levels is crucial to preserving your vision.

This month, spread awareness of the risks of diabetic eye disease and speak to your optometrist if you have any questions. In this case, knowledge really is the key to healthy vision.

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