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A Closer Look at Diabetic Eye Disease

Did you know that being a diabetes sufferer increases your chances of contracting a number of eye-related conditions? These conditions include cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and also many other conditions that, even though they may be seemingly unrelated to your sight, can still impact your vision.

What is diabetic retinopathy? It occurs due to high blood glucose levels causing harm to the blood vessels in the retina, and is one of the most common causes of adult blindness in North America.

Even though cataracts, which lead to vision impairment, and are a common part of aging, many people don't know that diabetes can lead to the early development of them.

People with diabetes have double the chance of developing glaucoma, sometimes referred to as the silent thief of sight, which is can lead to vision impairment. This condition forms due to increased pressure in the eye, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss.

Anyone with diabetes, regardless of if it is type 1 or type 2 - are at a heightened risk of diabetic eye disease, even more so if their diabetes isn't properly dealt with. Additional risks include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor diet and exercise, and smoking.

Due to the nature of the condition, symptoms of diabetic eye diseases often shift when blood sugar levels do. These often include:

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

It's crucial to note that diabetic eye disease can develop prior to its symptoms even being noticed.

Detecting the condition while it's still asymptomatic can often mean the difference between sight and total blindness and is usually a prerequisite for preventing subsequent vision loss and restoration of sight, if possible. Because of this, people with diabetes need to have an annual eye exam, to make sure that everything is okay. If you or someone you care for has diabetes, make sure you know about the risks and prevention of diabetic eye disease. Annual eye exams, and proper preventative measures, can save your vision.

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