Diabetes is a complex condition which can lead to a multitude of health problems. Many people aren't aware of how it can put you at risk of developing several eye-related diseases. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma, and also many other conditions that can worsen your eye health.
What is diabetic retinopathy? It occurs due to high blood glucose levels causing damage to the blood vessels in the retina. It can also lead to blindness in adults.
Cataracts, which are fairly common in old age, and which create vision impairment due to the clouding of the eyeí´s lens, usually develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes.
Your chances of developing glaucoma, another condition that can result in loss of vision, increase by fifty percent when you suffer from diabetes. Glaucoma results in optic nerve damage, which can lead to the worsening of vision. If it goes untreated, the damage can be irreparable.
All individuals with diabetes - whether it is type 1 or type 2 - are at a heightened risk of diabetic eye disease. The risk is even higher if the diabetes isn't properly dealt with. Other risks include:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Race (Hispanics and African Americans may be more vulnerable to vision loss and diabetic retinopathy).
Symptoms of diabetic eye diseases generally change when blood sugar levels do, and may include:
- Seeing double
- Eye pain
- Blind spots or blurry vision
- Trouble with near vision
- Corneal abrasions
Unfortunately, these symptoms don't really act as warning signs. At patient can develop diabetic eye disease well before they begin to observe its symptoms.
Early detection can often mean the difference between retaining and losing sight, and is usually central to preventing subsequent vision loss and restoration of sight. For this reason, diabetes patients need to go get an annual eye exam, to make sure that everything is running smoothly. If you have diabetes, make sure you are educated about diabetic eye disease. Annual eye exams, coupled with proper preventative measures, can make the difference between a world of sight and a world of darkness.