Approximately 16 million Americans have diabetes. And half are at risk for vision loss because they don’t know they have the disease.
Diabetic eye disease, a group of eye problems that affect those with diabetes, includes diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. The most common of these is diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially vision threatening condition in which the blood vessels inside the retina become damaged from the high blood sugar leges associated with diabetes.
Because there are often no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, your vision may not be affected until the disease becomes severe. You should see your Eye M.D. promptly if you experience visual changes that:
- Affect only one eye
- Last more than a few days
- Are not associated with a change in blood sugar
Diabetes can also affect your vision by causing cataracts and glaucoma. If you have diabetes, you are likely to get cataracts at a younger age and your chances of developing glaucoma are doubled.
More than one third of those diagnosed with diabetes don’t get recommended vision care and may be at risk for blindness. Once diagnosed with diabetes, schedule a complete dilated eye examination at least once a year.
Early diagnosis of diabetes and the effective control of blood sugar levels and hypertension through diet and exercise can help control eye diseases associated with diabetes.