Complications arising from diabetes can put patients at increased risk of developing a few eye-related conditions. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma, plus several other conditions that can still worsen your vision.
What is diabetic retinopathy? It occurs when excess blood glucose levels cause harm to the retina. It's also a really common cause of blindness in adults.
While cataracts, which lead to vision impairment, and are a common result of old age, many people aren't aware that diabetes patients are likely to develop these at a much earlier age.
Individuals with diabetes are double as likely to develop glaucoma, also known as the silent thief of sight, which is a serious, sight-threatening condition. This condition results from escalating pressure in the eye, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss.
All diabetes sufferers, regardless of whether it is type 1 or type 2 - are at increased risk of diabetic eye disease, even more so if their diabetes is uncontrolled. Additional risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Duration of the disease
- Bad diet and exercise habits
- Race í research suggests that African-Americans and Hispanics may be more susceptible to developing diabetic retinopathy and vision loss.
Due to the nature of the condition, symptoms of diabetic eye diseases often shift when blood sugar levels do, and may include:
- Seeing double
- Blurred vision and blind spots
- Trouble with near vision
- Corneal abrasions
Unfortunately, these symptoms don't really act as warning signs. The onset of diabetic eye disease can actually occur before its symptoms do.
Early detection can mean the difference between keeping and losing vision, and is usually a prerequisite for preventing subsequent loss of vision and restoration of sight. For this reason, it is strongly advised that diabetes sufferers go get an annual eye exam, to make certain that everything is okay. If you have diabetes, make sure you know about the risks and prevention of diabetic eye disease. Annual eye exams, coupled with proper preventative measures, can make the difference between losing vision and seeing well for years to come.