Unfortunately, diabetes is all too common. So many people aren't aware of how just much it can affect patients. For example, diabetes increases the likelihood of ending up with a number of eye-related diseases. Generally, these include glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts, and also a number of other conditions that, even when seemingly unrelated to your sight, may effect your eye health.
What is diabetic retinopathy? It occurs when high blood glucose levels cause harm to the retina, and it's also one of the main causes of blindness in adults in the developed world.
Even though cataracts, which lead to vision impairment, and are a typical part of old age, a lot of people don't know that diabetes patients are likely to develop these at an earlier age.
People with diabetes have double the chance of developing glaucoma, which is can result in blindness. Glaucoma results in optic nerve damage, which can lead to the worsening of vision. If this isn't properly dealt with, the damage can be irreparable.
All diabetes sufferers, type 1 or 2, are at increased risk of diabetic eye disease. The risk is even higher if the diabetes isn't properly dealt with. Other risk factors include:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Race (Hispanics and African Americans may be more susceptible to vision loss and diabetic retinopathy).
Because of the nature of the condition, symptoms of diabetic eye diseases generally fluctuate with blood sugar levels. These often include:
- Double vision
- Eye pain
- Blurred vision and blind spots
- Trouble with near vision
- Corneal abrasions
Unfortunately, these symptoms are more than warning signs. The onset of diabetic eye disease can actually occur before its symptoms do.
Detecting the condition before these symptoms surface can make a huge difference when it comes to preventing serious loss of vision. For this reason, people with diabetes are strongly encouraged to have an annual eye exam, to make certain that everything is running smoothly. If you or a loved one have diabetes, it's so important to be sure you are informed about the risks and prevention of diabetic eye disease. A yearly eye exam, and positive lifestyle habits, can make the difference between a world of sight and a world of darkness.