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Diabetes: A Leading Cause of Vision Loss

Diabetes is the main cause of blindness of men and women aged 20-74 years. Since 2008, over 4 million people in North America suffering from diabetes were subsequently diagnosed with diabetes related blindness. Of this group, 70,000 had acute diabetic retinopathy, which can result in total blindness.

While not everyone is at risk of diabetes related vision loss, it is essential to understand the relationship between the disease and vision loss.

Having diabetes is the first risk factor. The best way to learn if you have vision loss caused by diabetes is to have your optometrist perform an eye exam once a year. The longer the affliction goes undiagnosed, the stronger the danger of diabetes related vision loss. Timely treatment is vital in terms of halting further loss.

Women who are expecting that have been afflicted with gestational diabetes have a higher likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is important to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam after diagnosis as well.

Maybe you are wondering, why all the panic? Wouldn’t there be tell tale symptoms of sight deterioration?

The answer shockingly is no. There are many kinds of diabetic retinopathy, and only those in the advanced phases are easy to discern. Progressive diabetes might have no signs. Macular edema is another diabetes caused disease which results in extreme vision deterioration. Both afflictions can appear with no noticeable signs. This is a reason that early discovery is essential to stopping any irreversible loss.

A comprehensive assessment will search for indications of diabetic retinopathy. There are distinct parts to this exam which will expose the tell-tale clues, including damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is involved in a complete eye exam?

The eye doctor will perform a visual acuity test by means of an eye chart that is used to check how well you see at varying distances. This is the same as the visual acuity checks given by your eye doctor to see if you need corrective lenses.

While giving a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor puts drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils. Though not a particularly beloved test by most patients, it can save you blindness in subsequent years. This step makes it feasible to examine more of the interior portion of your eyes to look for specific clues that reveal the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy. The momentary discomfort could save your vision.

When it comes to your sight, even a little complacency can cause irreparable damage. If you are diabetic, it is necessary to plan a vision exam with your optometrist as soon as possible.