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Diabetic Retinopathy: A Leading Cause of Blindness

Did you know that diabetes is the main causal factor of vision loss in men and women between age twenty and seventy-four? If not, you are not alone. Since 2008, over four million men and women in North America suffering from diabetes were diagnosed with diabetes related blindness. Of this number, seventy thousand had advanced diabetic retinopathy, which, if left unmonitored, will lead to a complete blindness.

Should everyone be tested for blindness cause by diabetes?

Firstly, individuals living with diabetes are at risk. Anyone in this category should ensure that they have an eye exam once a year. The longer the affliction remains unmonitored, the greater the danger of diabetes caused blindness. Timely treatment will go a long way in halting further loss.

Pregnant women that are afflicted with diabetes have a higher likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is important to have a comprehensive dilated eye examination after diagnosis as well.

You may ask yourself why all the concern? Wouldn’t symptoms of blindness be obvious?

The answer surprisingly is no. There are many forms of diabetic retinopathy, and only those which are in the advanced phases are easy to discern. Proliferative diabetes can have no symptoms. Macular edema is another diabetes related disease which results in severe vision loss. Both afflictions can appear without any noticeable signs. This is why early discovery is essential to preventing long term damage.

A comprehensive analysis will search for symptoms of diabetic retinopathy. There are multiple phases to this exam which will reveal the typical clues, such as damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, the existence of fatty deposits on the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is involved in a comprehensive vision exam?

The eye doctor will perform an examination of visual acuity by means of an eye chart that is used to assess how well you can see at varying distances. This is the same as the visual acuity exams given by optometrists to see if you require corrective lenses.

In a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor puts drops in your eyes to dilate the size of your pupils. Though not a particularly beloved test by the squeamish, it can stop deterioration in your vision in 10-15 years. This procedure makes it feasible to see a larger part of the interior portion of your eyes to check for distinct clues that reveal the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy. The cursory discomfort could save your vision.

It is important to value your sight. Even a little laziness can cause severe loss. If you have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it is crucial to plan an eye examination with an eye doctor every year.

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