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Are you at risk for Diabetic Eye Disease?

These days, diabetes is all too common. So many people don't know just how much it can affect sufferers. For example, diabetes increases the likelihood of ending up with quite a few eye-related diseases. These conditions include glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts, plus a number of other conditions that, even though they may be seemingly unrelated to your sight, can worsen your eye health.

Diabetic retinopathy, which occurs due to high blood glucose levels causing harm to the blood vessels in the retina. It can also lead to blindness in adults.

Cataracts, which are fairly common in old age, and which lead to a clouding of the eye's lens, and subsequent vision impairment, usually develop at an earlier age in diabetes sufferers.

People with diabetes have double the chance of developing glaucoma, also known as the silent thief of sight, which is a serious, sight-threatening condition. Glaucoma results in optic nerve damage, which can lead to loss of vision. If glaucoma isn't properly dealt with, the damage can be irreparable.

Anyone with diabetes - whether it is type 1 or type 2 - are at a heightened chance of developing diabetic eye disease. The risk heightens further if the diabetes isn't properly dealt with. Additional risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor diet and exercise, and smoking.

Symptoms of diabetic eye diseases generally fluctuate with blood sugar levels, and may include:

  • Seeing double
  • Pain
  • Blind spots or blurry vision
  • Seeing floaters, or shadow in the field of view
  • Trouble with near vision
  • Corneal abrasions

It is really important to be aware that the onset of diabetic eye disease can occur prior to its symptoms even being noticed.

Detecting the disease while it's still asymptomatic can mean the difference between sight and total blindness and is usually central to preventing further loss of vision and recovery of sight. Because of this, it is strongly advised that people with diabetes have an annual eye exam, to be sure that everything is running smoothly. If you have diabetes, it's so important to be sure you know about how to avoid diabetic eye disease. A yearly eye exam, and positive lifestyle habits, can make the difference between a world of sight and a world of darkness.