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Diabetes and Eyesight

Did you know that diabetes is the main cause of impaired sight for men and women of all ages? As of 2014, over four million individuals in North America living with diabetes were found to have diabetes related blindness. Of this number, seventy thousand had severe diabetic retinopathy, which may result in total loss of vision.

While not every individual is at risk of diabetes related vision loss, it is essential to be aware of the relation between the disease and blindness.

Firstly, those diagnosed with diabetes are at risk. Anyone in this category should ensure that they have an eye exam once a year. The longer the disease remains undiagnosed, the greater the danger of diabetes caused blindness. Quick treatment is the key to preventing further damage.

Women who are expecting that are afflicted with gestational diabetes have a better likelihood of contracting diabetic retinopathy. It is important to undergo a complete dilated eye examination after diagnosis as well.

You may ask yourself why all the concern? Wouldn't it be obvious if you were going blind?

Well the truth is, not necessarily. There are many forms of diabetic retinopathy, and only those which are in the acute phases are easy to discern. Progressive diabetes may have no symptoms. Macular edema is another diabetes caused disease which results in severe sight loss. Both conditions may develop with no noticeable signs. This is why early diagnosis is central to halting any permanent deterioration.

A complete assessment will search for evidence of diabetic retinopathy. There are distinct stages to this exam which will reveal the typical clues, such as leaky blood vessels, swelling of the retina, the buildup of fatty deposits on the retina, and damaged nerve tissue. What is involved in a complete vision exam?

The eye doctor will perform a visual acuity examination by means of an eye chart that is used to check how correctly you are able to see at different distances. This is the same as the visual acuity tests given by your eye doctor, 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 favorite of most patients, it can save you blindness in 10-15 years. This procedure makes it possible to see a larger part of the inside of your eyes to check for specific clues that imply the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy. The momentary discomfort may save your vision.

It is important to value your eye sight. Even a little laziness can cause severe loss. If you have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it is of the utmost importance to schedule a vision exam with an optometrist today.