Complications that arise from diabetes can put sufferers at increased risk of developing several vision-related diseases. These conditions include cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, as well as a number of other conditions that can impact the health of the eye, and your vision.
What is diabetic retinopathy? It occurs when excess blood glucose levels cause harm to the network of blood vessels in the retina. It can also lead to blindness in adults.
While cataracts, which lead to vision impairment, and are a common part of getting older, many people aren't aware that diabetes patients are likely to develop these at a much earlier age.
Individuals with diabetes have double the chance of developing glaucoma, sometimes referred to as the silent thief of sight, which is a serious, sight-threatening condition. This condition comes about as a result of escalating pressure in the eye, leading to optic nerve damage and vision loss.
All individuals with diabetes, type 1 or 2, are at increased chance of developing diabetic eye disease. The risk is even higher if the diabetes is uncontrolled. Additional risks include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor diet and exercise, and smoking.
Symptoms of diabetic eye diseases usually shift with blood sugar levels. These often include:
- Double vision
- Eye pain
- Blurred vision and blind spots
- Trouble with near vision
- Corneal abrasions
It's crucial to know that the onset of diabetic eye disease can occur prior to its symptoms even being noticed.
Early detection can often mean the difference between retaining and losing sight, and is usually central to avoiding further loss of vision and recovery of sight, if possible. Because of this, people with diabetes are strongly encouraged to have an annual eye exam, to be certain that everything is okay. If you have diabetes, make sure you are informed about how to steer clear of diabetic eye disease. Annual eye exams, and proper preventative measures, can make the difference between losing vision and seeing well for years to come.