Too many people are not informed that diabetes can lead to blindness. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among those aged 20 to 74 years old. One of the most serious complications of diabetes is when the retina is damaged by excessive pressure in the blood vessels of the eye, which is called diabetic retinopathy. This condition is a particularly serious complication of the disease and it is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.
Early on, this condition often presents no noticeable symptoms. When the pressure in the blood vessels in the retina increases they begin to leak resulting in retinal damage. This damage leads to vision loss and when not treated, blindness.
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 schedule a visit with your eye doctor. Diabetes also increases the risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts.
There are effective treatments to prevent vision loss as a result of diabetes, however the disease must be diagnosed early. In addition to making sure that you have a regular eye exam on a yearly basis if you are diabetic, keeping your blood sugar levels under control is crucial to keeping your eyes healthy. Keep your glucose levels within normal limits and keep an eye on your blood pressure. Include exercise and proper nutrition in your lifestyle.
If you or a loved one is diabetic, make sure you are informed about preventing diabetic retinopathy and other eye risks and consult with your optometrist to discuss questions or concerns. In this case, knowledge really is the key to vision.