Are you a diabetic? If yes, then you should take more care of your eyes.
In the United States alone, 28.5% of diabetics aged 40 years old and above with are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. Big word… but what does it mean?
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes which affects the eyes. The blood vessels of the eye tissues responsible for vision become damaged. Anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is at risk for developing this eye condition. The longer you have diabetes and if you do not control your blood sugar, then the greater chances you have for developing diabetic retinopathy.
If left uncontrolled, too much sugar in your blood can damage and block the tiny blood vessels which nourish your sensitive eye tissues. Initially, diabetic retinopathy does not cause major vision changes. Sometimes it might not even have symptoms but if left untreated, it can result to blindness. It’s possible to have diabetic retinopathy and not know about having it.
However, as the condition progresses, the earlier signs and symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may include:
- Seeing spots and dark string floating around in your field of vision (more commonly known as floaters)
- Blurring of vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Dark or empty areas in your vision
- Vision loss
- Some difficulty with color perception
Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes and whenever the signs and symptoms develop in one eye, it’s highly likely that the other eye would experience the same.
If your vision becomes blurry, spotty or hazy, you need to get in touch with your eye doctor right away. Before visiting your doctor, write down a brief summary of your diabetes history and include what medications, vitamins and supplements you take. Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing even the ones which you think are unrelated to your eye problem.
Diabetic retinopathy is a highly preventable condition. You don’t have to be worried about anything as long as you become more proactive in the management of your eye health. The first step is prevention. Control your blood sugar level and schedule eye exams at least once a year.
Schedule an appointment with the Palm Beach Eye Center and get your eyes tested for diabetic retinopathy. Remember: prevention is better than cure.