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National Diabetes Month: Signs of Diabetic Retinopathy

Did you know that being diabetic increases your chances of serious eye damage? Diabetes is the number one 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 excessive pressure in the blood vessels of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy causes severe vision impairment and even blindness. Anyone with the disease is at risk and it is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.

Diabetic retinopathy is often undetected until there has been significant vision loss. When the pressure in the retinal blood vessels builds up they start to leak resulting in retinal damage. This damage will result in eventual blindness if it is not treated.

If you have diabetes 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 schedule a visit with your eye doctor. Diabetics are also at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma due to the strain it causes on the eyes.

There are ways prevent loss of sight as a result of diabetes, but the disease must be diagnosed early. In addition to making sure that you have a regular eye exam annually if you are diabetic, keeping your diabetes under control is necessary to preserving your vision. Make sure to keep your blood sugar levels at the proper range and keep an eye on your blood pressure. Ensure that you exercise and maintain a healthy diet and refrain from smoking.

This month, spread awareness of the risks of diabetic eye disease and speak to your optometrist if you have any questions. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.