Diabetes causes many health complications, and one of the most serious is diabetic eye disease. Diabetes is a disease that prevents the body from using glucose effectively. Over 30 million Americans have diabetes, including 12 million seniors.
What is Diabetic Eye Disease?
If you have diabetes, you are at higher risk for diabetic eye disease, a group of eye conditions that often affect people with diabetes. Some of the most common forms of diabetic eye disease include diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts.
Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy refers to any retinal damage that results from long-term diabetes. It is the most common cause of vision loss among diabetics and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working age American adults. This eye condition changes blood vessels in the retina, causing them to leak fluid or blood, which impairs vision. Because diabetic retinopathy develops slowly, eye damage usually occurs before people notice vision changes.
Diabetes and Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual images to the brain. People with diabetes are nearly twice likely to develop glaucoma than people without diabetes, and risk increases with age. Glaucoma risk also increases with the number of years since diabetes diagnosis.
Diabetes and Cataracts
Anyone can develop cataracts, but diabetics are 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts than non-diabetics. A cataract is the gradual clouding of the eye lens that progressively impairs vision. People with diabetes tend to get cataracts at a younger age, and their cataracts usually progress faster.
Visit an Ophthalmologist During Diabetes Awareness Month
All diabetic eye disease can cause significant vision loss and blindness. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam. At your eye exam, an eye doctor will test your visual acuity, evaluate the health of your retina and optic nerve, and assess your risk for diabetic eye disease.
If you are seeking a qualified ophthalmologist in your area, we would like to help you Find a Physician. Click here and enter your zip code in the top right corner of the page. You will get a list of doctors near you. Our physicians have years of experience in diagnosing and treating diabetic eye disease to prevent vision loss, so call today.