Did you know that people with diabetes are more likely to develop blinding eye diseases? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 20% of adults with diabetes diagnosed over age 45 report vision problems.
With an estimated 30 million Americans living with diabetes, diabetes-related vision problems are more common than you may think!
High blood sugar can cause your eyes to develop conditions like blurry vision, glaucoma and cataracts.
How likely are people with diabetes to develop eye conditions?
According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), adults with diabetes are 2–5 times more likely to develop cataracts. While cataracts are a natural occurrence as you age, people with diabetes tend to develop them earlier and they can worsen more quickly.
The NEI also notes that diabetes also almost doubles the risk of glaucoma.
The most common diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy, which we’ll talk a little more about here.
So what is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy affects the tissue at the back of your eye (retina) and is the most common diabetic eye disease. Doctors will see areas of blood and leaking blood vessels if retinopathy is present.
How is it treated?
Mild diabetic retinopathy can be stabilized with careful blood sugar management. Proper control of blood pressure and cholesterol are also necessary to control diabetic retinopathy.
If diabetic retinopathy advances, some people may need injection of medications, laser and/ or surgery for control.
Diabetic retinopathy needs to be diagnosed and treated early to limit the effects. The National Eye Institute reports that diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults.
What can I do?
There’s one very important thing you can do: schedule annual checkups (and more frequently if advised by your doctor). By taking a proactive approach to your health, you’re helping ensure your vision is being carefully monitored for changes. Maintaining good blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol control is important. Report visual changes if they occur between appointments.
If you’re due for a diabetic eye exam, make sure you request an appointment today.