Diabetes: Risks for Blindness

Diabetes presents many potential complications to eye health.

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Diabetes and Vision Trouble?

I think we can all agree that no one walks around wishing that they had diabetes. We all know about constant the finger pricking and the need for insulin to ensure that blood glucose levels stay in check, but how many of us really understand the complications that come with this diagnosis? For instance, how many readers knew before seeing this article that blindness is a potential complication of diabetes? Would we work harder at preventing the disease as a society if we were made more aware of the risks? For many, these realizations are only uncovered after the arrival of a diabetes diagnosis. And by then, it’s largely too late.

Eye Health

The International Diabetes Federation states that about one-third of those suffering from diabetes will likely develop problems with their eye health. The longer you have diabetes, the higher your risks for vision impairment. Experts estimate that as many as 70 million people could have sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy by the year 2040. Early diagnosis and preventative treatments are essential to helping diabetics preserve their vision over time.

What’s at Stake?

The chances of developing glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy are all significantly increased by the presence of diabetes. Glaucoma is a drainage problem within the eye. The eye maintains its shape and health by producing a natural flow of fluid that drains through internal pathways, making room for new fluid and nutrients to come in. However, these drainage pathways may become blocked, causing pressure to build up within the eye. The increase in pressure results in damage to the optic nerve. A cataract is a vision impairment that causes the lens of the eye to become cloudy, often making sight obstructed, blurry, or even yellow-looking. Diabetic retinopathy refers to the many complications that can arise within the retina of the eye due to diabetes. These include blood vessel complications that can eventually lead to blindness if left untreated.

Time for an Eye Exam?

When is the last time you went to the eye doctor? Unless you notice a significant change in your vision, you may believe it’s okay to put off scheduling a check-up. Think again. Regular examinations could alert you to potential eye health concerns. If you are suffering from diabetes, or even temporary gestational diabetes, meeting with your eye doctor is imperative. An eye doctor can help you keep your vision intact and can prevent small vision problems from turning into bigger, sight-threatening vision problems.

Preventing Diabetes

There may still be time for you to prevent the onset of diabetes and avoid many health complications, like vision impairment, that may come with it. The foods we eat and the activities we participate in can play huge roles in calculating our risk of developing diabetes. Talk to your doctor to assess your risks and create a plan to prepare you for a life of good health. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, make sure you are meeting with your doctor regularly to see that your prognosis doesn’t worsen. Prevention and maintenance are essential for living a long and healthy life.

Knowledge is power, but only if you use it.

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About Cali Naughton

Cali Naughton graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington. She joined the marketing team at Empower Brokerage in the spring of 2021 as a marketing specialist and the department photographer.

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