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National Diabetes Month: How Diabetes Effects Your Eyesight

Are you aware that being diabetic increases your chances of vision threatening eye damage? Diabetes is the main cause of total vision loss in adults under 75 years old according to recent studies by the NIH. One of the most serious complications of diabetes is when the retina is damaged by an increase in pressure in the blood vessels of the eye, which is called diabetic retinopathy. This condition is one of the most incapacitating complications of the disease and it is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.

In its early stages, this condition often presents no noticeable symptoms. When the pressure in the retinal blood vessels increases they begin to leak causing retinal damage. This will result in eventual blindness if it is not treated.

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.

There are effective treatments to slow the progression of diabetic eye diseases and stop further vision loss as a result of diabetes, but early detection and treatment are vital. In addition to making sure that you have a comprehensive eye exam on a yearly basis if you are diabetic, keeping your blood sugar levels under control is essential to preserving your vision.

If you or a loved one has diabetes, make sure you are informed about preventing diabetic retinopathy and other eye risks and consult with your optometrist to discuss questions or concerns. In this case, knowledge really is the key to a lifetime of healthy vision.

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