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Be Aware During National Diabetes Month

Did you know that being diabetic increases your chances of vision threatening eye damage? Diabetes is the primary cause of blindness in adults between the ages of 20 and 74 according to recent studies by the NIH. One of the risks of diabetes is retinal damage caused by increased 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.

In its early stages, this condition often presents no noticeable symptoms. Loss of sight ultimately develops when the retinal blood vessels begin to leak into the retina. When it is not treated, blood vessels could become completely stopped up or additional vessels may begin to grow on the retina leading to permanent loss of sight.

If you are diabetic 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. Cataracts and glaucoma are also more common in individuals with diabetes than in the average population.

There are ways slow the progression of diabetic eye diseases and stop further vision loss resulting from the disease, but the disease must be diagnosed early. In addition to making sure that you have a diabetic eye exam on a yearly basis if you are diabetic, keeping your diabetes under control is necessary to your eye health. Keep your glucose levels within the proper range and keep an eye on your blood pressure. Ensure that you exercise and maintain proper nutrition and refrain from smoking.

If you or a loved one is diabetic, make sure you are informed about preventing diabetic retinopathy and other eye risks and consult with your optometrist to discuss questions or concerns. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.