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Did you know that diabetes is the primary cause of vision loss among adults of all ages? If not, you are not alone. In just the last four years, over four million individuals in North America suffering from diabetes were diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. Of this group, seventy thousand were afflicted with advanced diabetic retinopathy, which, if left unmonitored, will lead to total blindness.
While not every individual is at risk of diabetic retinopathy, it is good to understand the connection between the disease and vision loss.
Firstly, individuals diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk. Anyone in this category should ensure that they have an eye exam once a year. The longer the affliction goes unchecked, the stronger the danger of diabetes related vision loss. Timely treatment will go a long way in halting further loss.
Women who are expecting that are found to have pregnancy-related diabetes have a higher likelihood of contracting diabetic retinopathy. It is advisable to have a comprehensive dilated eye test after diagnosis as well.
So why all the panic? Won't there be symptoms if you were losing your sight?
Well the answer surprisingly is, not always. There are many sorts of diabetic retinopathy, and only those in the severe phases are easy to discern. Progressive diabetes might have no symptoms. Macular edema is another diabetes related disease which results in extreme blindness. Both conditions may develop with no noticeable signs. This is a reason that early detection is crucial to halting any permanent loss.
A complete evaluation will seek out indications of diabetic retinopathy. There are various stages to this exam which will show the typical clues, including damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is entailed in a complete eye exam?
First of all you will undergo a visual acuity test by means of an eye chart which is used to check how well you are able to see at varying distances. This is the same as the visual acuity checks given by your eye doctor, should you need glasses.
While giving a dilated eye exam, the optometrist puts drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils. This is not a favorite of most patients, but it can stop a loss of autonomy in 10-15 years. This measure makes it easier to check a larger section of the interior portion of your eyes to check for distinct signs that imply the presence of diabetic retinopathy. The short discomfort could save your ability to see.
It is important to value your sight. Even a little hesitation might cause irreversible deterioration. If you are living with diabetes, it is essential to schedule an eye test with your optometrist today.