Even many individuals with the disease are unaware of the fact that diabetes can lead to blindness. Diabetes is the primary cause of total vision loss in adults under 75. One of the risks of diabetes is when the retina is damaged by excessive pressure in the blood vessels of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. This condition causes severe vision impairment and even blindness and is a risk for anyone with the disease.
Diabetic retinopathy can be unnoticed until it is too late. Loss of sight occurs when the retinal blood vessels begin to leak fluid, oil and small amounts of blood. As the disease progresses, blood vessels could be blocked or new vessels may begin to form on the retina leading to permanent loss of sight.
Warning signs of developing diabetic retinopathy include fluctuating vision, eye floaters and spots, the development of a shadow in your field of view, blurry vision, corneal abnormalities, double vision, eye pain and near vision problems that have nothing to do with presbyopia. Diabetes also increases the risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts.
With early diagnosis and treatment, we can stop loss of eyesight. In addition to making sure that you have a comprehensive eye exam once a year if you are diabetic, controlling your glucose levels is necessary to preserving your vision.
If you or a loved one is diabetic, be sure you know how to prevent diabetic eye disease and speak to your optometrist to discuss questions or concerns. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.