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Diabetes and Your Vision: What You Need to Know

You may have heard that people with diabetes have a higher risk of vision problems and blindness than the general population. This is due to an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy, and it occurs when the small blood vessels that nourish the nerve cells in the retina are damaged. Diabetes also raises risk for glaucoma and cataracts.

Does having diabetes mean I will definitely lose my eyesight?
Not necessarily. If you see your eye doctor for regular checkups, he or she can help you spot any problems early and start treatment. You can also protect your vision by knowing the signs of retinopathy and contacting your eye doctor as soon as you notice any of them. These symptoms include:

  • Double vision or blurred vision
  • The appearance of flashing lights
  • Streaks, spots or a veil across the retina that breaks up vision
  • Blind or blank spots in the field of vision
  • Vision that changes as blood glucose levels do
  • Changes in depth perception

Glaucoma and Cataracts

  • Glaucoma occurs when pressure builds in the eye and damages the retina and nerve. Over time and left untreated, the increasing pressure will lead to a loss of vision. People with diabetes have a 40% greater risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Cataracts are clouding in the eye’s lens, which blocks light can cause loss of vision. People with diabetes are 60% more likely to get cataracts and tend to get them at a younger age.

In addition to following your doctor’s instructions for managing diabetes, it’s very important to see an eye specialist for regular check-ups and contact him or her if you have any changes to your vision between appointments.

Contact us to discuss how we can help protect your vision if you have diabetes.

Posted in: Diabetic Retinopathy

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