According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30.3 million Americans are living with diabetes and another 84.1 million have prediabetes—a condition that leads to type-2 diabetes within five years, if not treated.
As well as having to deal with things like fatigue and the risk of high blood pressure, those suffering from diabetes are also at a heightened risk for eye complications that may lead to blindness.
If you are currently living with diabetes or may be at risk for diabetes, here are the vision concerns that you should be aware of.
Diabetes can lead to diabetic retinopathy, a condition in which small blood vessels in your eyes leak blood or yellow fluid. This is the leading cause of blindness for diabetics. Early symptoms include blurry vision, distorted vision or seeing floaters (spots that can appear as small black or grey specks, spidery strings or bits of debris that drift across your line of sight whenever you shift your gaze). One of the most effective preventative measures for diabetic retinopathy is blood sugar management.
Diabetic macular edema
Diabetic macular edema (DME), a disease caused by the progression of diabetic retinopathy, may affect up to 10 percent of people with diabetes. People living with diabetes can present with DME at any stage of diabetic retinopathy, though it’s more likely to occur as the disease progresses. Treatment includes injecting anti-vascular endothelial growth-factor medicines into the eye, and to prevent a recurrence of DME in the future, diabetics will have to remain vigilant about keeping their blood sugar at healthy levels.
Even if diabetes is treated correctly and early on, one of the main reasons why this disease is often linked to vision loss is because it can still cause cataracts to form. This results in the blocking of light, as well as decreased vision, often requiring corrective surgery. Cataracts, of course, are not an exclusive related to diabetes, but people with diabetes are at a much higher risk of developing cataracts and developing them at an earlier age.
Glaucoma is another eye condition that those with diabetes are twice as likely to develop. With glaucoma, pressure builds up inside the eye, which can damage nerves and blood vessels and cause changes in vision. Without treatment, peripheral vision is typically the first to be affected, followed by changes to the remainder of the visual field. Early diagnosis is key to getting proper treatment and preventing blindness.
For anyone living with or at risk of diabetes, it’s absolutely imperative to receive regular eye exams. Early diagnosis of eye conditions are essential to effective treatments that will help you preserve clear vision.
To ensure that diabetes doesn’t lead to vision problems in yourself or a loved one, please reach out to us at OCLI today to schedule an exam. At OCLI, you’ll find the friendliest service, the latest technology, and the most effective treatment for all your eyecare needs.