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A Closer Look at Diabetic Eye Disease

Are you aware that having diabetes increases your chances of contracting several eye-related diseases? These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma, and also a number of other conditions that, even though they may be seemingly unrelated to your sight, can effect your vision.

Diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when high blood glucose levels cause harm to the network of blood vessels in the retina. It can also lead to blindness in adults.

A pretty familiar result of old age, cataracts, which lead to a clouding of the eye's lens, and the subsequent worsening of vision, usually develop sooner in diabetes sufferers.

Your odds of developing glaucoma, another condition that can lead to vision impairment, double when you suffer from diabetes. This condition forms due to escalating pressure in the eye, resulting in damage of nerves in the eye and loss of vision.

All diabetes sufferers, type 1 or 2, are at increased risk of diabetic eye disease. The risk is even higher if the diabetes isn't adequately controlled. Other risks include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Duration of the disease
  • Age
  • Bad diet and exercise habits
  • Race í research suggests that African-Americans and Hispanics may be at higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and vision loss.

Symptoms of diabetic eye diseases usually change with blood sugar levels. These often include:

  • Double vision
  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision and blind spots
  • Seeing floaters, or shadow in the field of view
  • Trouble with near vision
  • Corneal abrasions

Unfortunately, these symptoms are more than warning signs. The onset of diabetic eye disease can actually occur before its symptoms do.

Detecting the condition before these symptoms surface can make all the difference when it comes to avoiding irreversible vision loss. Because of this, people with diabetes are strongly encouraged to go get a yearly eye exam to keep tabs on the health of their eyes. If you have diabetes, make sure you are educated about the risks and prevention of diabetic eye disease. Annual eye exams, coupled with good lifestyle choices, can make the difference between losing vision and seeing well for years to come.


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