Even many individuals with the disease are not informed that diabetes can lead to vision loss. Diabetes is the main cause of blindness in people between 20 and 74 according to recent studies by the National Institute of Health. One of the risks of diabetes is retinal damage caused by an increase in pressure in the blood vessels of the eye, which is called diabetic retinopathy. This condition causes severe vision impairment and even blindness. Anyone with the disease is at risk and it has affected over 3.7 million people in the United States in the past decade.
Diabetic retinopathy can be undetected until it is too late. Vision problems occur when the retinal blood vessels begin to leak fluid, oil and small amounts of blood into the retina. When it is not treated, blood vessels could become blocked or additional unwanted vessels may begin to form on the retina leading to irreparable loss of sight.
Warning signs of diabetic retinopathy include any kind of vision problems such as fluctuations, spots, shadows, double or blurred vision or pain. In addition to diabetic retinopathy, diabetics are at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma.
With early detection and treatment, we can reduce loss of eyesight. In addition to making sure that you have a comprehensive eye exam annually if you are diabetic, keeping your diabetes under control is necessary to keeping your eyes healthy.
If you or a loved one is diabetic, be sure you are informed about the risks of diabetic retinopathy and other eye risks and speak to your eye doctor to discuss questions or concerns. In this case, knowledge really is the key to healthy vision.