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Diabetes and Eye Health

Complications of diabetes put patients at increased risk of developing a few vision-related conditions. These include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma, plus a number of other conditions that, even though they may be seemingly unrelated to your sight, can effect the health of the eye, and your vision.

Diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when high blood glucose levels cause 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 lead to a clouding of the eye's lens, and subsequent vision impairment, tend to develop sooner in diabetes sufferers.

Individuals with diabetes have double the odds of developing glaucoma, sometimes referred to as the silent thief of sight, which is can result in vision impairment. This disease results in optic nerve damage, and this can lead to the worsening of vision. If this isn't properly dealt with, the vision loss can be irreparable.

All diabetes sufferers, type 1 or 2, are at a higher chance of developing diabetic eye disease, even more so if their diabetes isn't adequately controlled. Additional risks include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Length of the disease
  • Age
  • Poor diet and lack of exercise
  • Race í research has proven 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 usually change with blood sugar levels, and may include:

  • Blurry or distorted vision that may fluctuate
  • Blind spots or floaters
  • Double vision
  • Eye Pain
  • Scotoma
  • Problems with near vision
  • Corneal abrasions

Unfortunately, these symptoms don't really act as warning signs. At patient can develop diabetic eye disease before they even begin to observe its symptoms.

Detecting the disease before these symptoms surface can often mean the difference between keeping and losing sight, and is usually central to preventing subsequent deterioration of vision and recovery of sight. Because of this, it is strongly advised that people with diabetes have a yearly eye exam, to be sure that everything is in check. If you suffer from diabetes, make sure you know about the risks and prevention of diabetic eye disease. Annual eye exams, and proper preventative measures, can save your vision.