Many people are not aware that diabetes is connected to eye issues and is one of the leading causes of blindness. Diabetic eye disease can cause vision loss or blindness, and diabetes can cause a variety of eye problems.  There are sometimes no warning signs of diabetic eye disease, but early detection and timely treatment can reduce the risks.  For early detection of diabetic eye disease, a comprehensive dilated eye exam should be performed every year. Know the risk factors and take charge of your health!

The progression of the disease can be slowed down. It is important that you take your diabetic medication as prescribed, maintain a healthy diet, stay physically active, maintain a healthy weight, and refrain from smoking so that you have a smaller chance of developing diabetic eye disease.

Diabetic eye disease may affect your eyes in the following ways:

  • Cataracts: This is clouding of the eye lens.  Your vision will gradually become cloudy and your ability to see details can be reduced. Diabetics develop cataracts about 10 years earlier than a non-diabetic patients.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: This is damage to the blood vessels in the retina, which causes poor circulation in the eyes depriving the eyes of nutrition and oxygen.
  • Glaucoma: This increases the fluid pressure inside your eye and can lead to optic nerve damage which can result in a loss of vision.
  • Changing vision when blood sugar fluctuates.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease.  And, the longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy.

But we have good news, diabetic retinopathy can be treated to reduce the risk of blindness by 90% when detected early.  Over the past few decades, laser treatments have proven to be effective.  In recent years, improvements have been made in treatment options because of the development of new medications. In all cases, the best results are achieved with early diagnosis and intervention.

Additionally, several studies and clinical trials suggest that controlling blood sugar levels slows the development of diabetic retinopathy.

 Regardless of whether you suffer from diabetes or not, you should have an annual comprehensive eye examination.  If you suffer from diabetes, it's very important you consult your primary doctor and you have a comprehensive eye examination with dilation each year. If you have any questions about diabetic eye disease contact us at Island Retina, we are here to help you preserve your eyes so you can see what's important to you.