Did you know that having diabetes puts you at risk for vision threatening eye damage? Diabetes is the primary cause of total vision loss in adults under 75 years old according to recent studies by the National Institute of Health. One of the most serious complications of diabetes is when the retina is damaged by increased pressure in the blood vessels of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. This condition is a particularly serious complication of the disease and it is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.

Diabetic retinopathy is often undetected until there has been significant vision loss. Vision loss ultimately develops when the retinal blood vessels begin to leak fluid, oil and small amounts of blood into the retina. As the disease progresses, blood vessels may become completely stopped up or new unwanted vessels may grow on the retina leading to irreparable vision loss.

If you have diabetes 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 optometrist. Diabetes also increases the risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts.

There are effective treatments to prevent loss of vision as a result of diabetes, however the disease must be diagnosed early. In addition to making sure that you have a comprehensive eye exam annually if you are diabetic, keeping your blood sugar levels under control is crucial to preserving your vision.

If you or a loved one is diabetic, be sure you know the risks of diabetic retinopathy and other eye risks and speak to your optometrist if you have any questions. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.