Are You at Risk For Diabetic Eye Disease?
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is characterized by a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood glucose (blood sugar). Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It’s also your brain’s main source of fuel. Diabetes can cause problems such as: blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and limb amputations.
What Is Diabetic Eye Disease?
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems associated with complications due to diabetes. All of these eye problems can cause vision loss or in extreme cases, blindness.
Diabetic eye disease may include:
- Diabetic Retinopathy‐damage to the blood vessels of the retina
- Cataracts‐clouding of the lens of the eye
- Glaucoma‐an increase of fluid pressure in the eye. This can lead to optic nerve damage and/or vision loss.
What’s The Good News?
Diabetic eye disease can be prevented by managing your health and can be treated before vision loss occurs!
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and is the leading cause of blindness in American adults.
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some cases, retinal blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other cases, new blood vessels may grow abnormally on the surface of the retina. These changes that occur to the retina may result in vision loss or blindness.
What Are The Symptoms?
Most often symptoms do not occur until later in theprogression of the disease.
- Blurred Vision‐occurs when the macula swells from leaking fluid (Macular Edema)
- “Blocked Vision”‐occurs when new blood vessels have grown on the surface of the retina and begin to bleed
This is why all diabetic patients are recommended to receive dilated eye exams at least once a year!
What Can You Do To Protect Your Vision?
Early detection and treatment is the best way to prevent diabetic eye disease. Annual dilated eye exams will aid in this early detection.
Managing your blood glucose levels can slow the onset and progression of diabetic eye disease.
What’s On Your Plate?
Diet and exercise play a leading role in your health. Get active and stay active! Healthy diet and exercise can help manage your diabetes and prevent the onset of complications.
November is National Diabetes Month
During the month of November (and year round), national organizations work to achieve diabetes awareness and encourage diabetics to get an annual dilated eye health examination.