Diabetes, a chronic condition that affects millions worldwide, doesn’t just impact blood sugar levels; it can cast a shadow over your eyes as well. About one in three people with diabetes who are older than age 40 already have some signs of diabetic retinopathy. Despite its prevalence and severity, many people are unaware of the risks and preventative measures associated with this condition. The truth is, Diabetic eye disease is one such condition that demands our attention, though it is often overlooked.
What is Diabetic Eye Disease?
Diabetic eye disease is a broad term for several eye conditions that can develop as a result of diabetes, the most common being diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in the retina, causing vision problems that can lead to blindness if left untreated. Other eye conditions linked to diabetes include diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma.
A Silent Threat.
One of the most dangerous aspects of diabetic eye disease is its silent progression. In its early stages, there may be no noticeable symptoms. This means that many individuals living with diabetes are unaware of the potential threat to their vision until it reaches a more advanced stage. One of the most critical aspects of diabetic eye disease management is early detection. Many individuals with diabetes remain asymptomatic until the disease has progressed significantly. Therefore, it’s vital for anyone with diabetes to schedule regular eye exams with an ophthalmologist. These professionals can detect the earliest signs of diabetic eye disease and recommend appropriate treatment.
If symptoms do occur, call your ophthalmologist right away. DO NOT WAIT.
These symptoms may include:
- blurry or wavy vision
- frequently changing vision—sometimes from day to day
- dark areas or vision loss
- poor color vision
- spots or dark strings (also called floaters)
- flashes of light
Why Awareness Matters.
- Early Detection Saves Sight: Diabetic eye disease is highly treatable when detected early. Awareness empowers individuals to get regular dilated eye exams with their eye doctor at least once a year. These exams can catch problems early, and prevent vision loss.
- Prevention Through Lifestyle Changes: Raising awareness about the connection between diabetes management and eye health encourages individuals to manage their blood sugar levels better. This can have a positive impact on both overall health and eye health.
What you can do.
To protect your vision and promote diabetic eye disease awareness:
- If you have diabetes, schedule regular eye exams with one of our retina specialists.
- Educate your friends and family about the importance of eye screenings for those with diabetes.
- Spread awareness about diabetic eye disease and how to prevent it.
Awareness is the first step towards combating diabetic eye disease. So let’s take the time to spread the word, we can empower individuals with diabetes to take control of their eye health which just might save someone’s sight. To schedule an eye exam with one of Lynchburg’s only retina specialists, click here.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report: Estimates of Diabetes and Its Burden in the United States, 2014. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.
For more sources: visit https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/diabetic-eye-disease