Did you know that living with diabetes puts you at risk for blindness? A recent study by the National Institute of Health (NIH) indicates that diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in individuals aged 20 to 74 years old. One of the risks of diabetes is retinal damage caused by an increase in pressure in the blood vessels of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. This condition causes severe vision impairment and even blindness. Anyone with the disease is at risk and it is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.
Diabetic retinopathy can be undetected until there has been significant vision loss. When the pressure in the blood vessels in the retina builds up they start to leak causing irreparable damage to the retina. This leads to vision loss and when not treated, blindness.
If you have diabetes 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 schedule a visit with your optometrist. In addition to diabetic retinopathy, diabetics are at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma.
There are ways prevent loss of vision as a result of diabetes, however early detection and treatment are essential. In addition to making sure that you have a comprehensive eye exam once a year if you are diabetic, controlling your diabetes is crucial to your eye health.
If you or a loved one has diabetes, be sure you are knowledgeable about the risks of diabetic eye disease and consult with your optometrist if you have any questions. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.