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Diabetic Eye Risks

Are you aware that having diabetes puts you at risk for vision loss? The NIH reports that in individuals between 20 and 74, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness. 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. Anyone with the disease is at risk and it is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.

Diabetic retinopathy can be asymptomatic until it is too late. Vision loss ultimately develops when the blood vessels in the retina begin to leak fluid, oil and small amounts of blood into the retina. As the disease develops, blood vessels may be blocked or additional vessels may form on the retina leading to irreparable loss of sight.

Warning signs of diabetic retinopathy include any kind of vision problems such as fluctuations, spots, shadows, double or blurred vision or pain. Diabetes also increases the risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts.

The risk of diabetic eye disease is higher when glucose levels are uncontrolled. Controlling your diabetes through diet, exercise and staying healthy and annual eye exams is the best combination for preventing vision loss.

If you or a loved one is diabetic, make sure you are informed about the risks of diabetic eye disease and consult with your eye doctor to discuss questions or concerns. In this case, ignorance could cost you your vision

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