Even many people with the disease are not informed that diabetes can lead to vision loss. Diabetes is the leading cause of loss of sight in adults under 75 years old according to recent studies by the National Institute of Health. One of the most serious complications of diabetes is retinal damage caused by an increase in pressure in the blood vessels of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most serious complications of the disease and it is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.
Diabetic retinopathy is often undetected until there has been significant vision loss. Vision problems occur when the blood vessels in the retina begin to leak fluid, oil and small amounts of blood. When it is not treated, blood vessels could become blocked or additional unwanted vessels may begin to form on the retina leading to permanent loss of sight.
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 make sure to see your eye doctor. Cataracts and glaucoma are also more common in individuals with diabetes than in the average population.
There are ways prevent loss of vision resulting from the disease, but the disease must be diagnosed early. In addition to making sure to schedule a regular eye exam once a year if you are diabetic, keeping your glucose levels under control is vital to keeping your eyes healthy.
If you or a loved one has diabetes, make sure you know the risks of diabetic eye disease and consult with your optometrist if you have any questions. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.