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diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in otherwise healthy patients. It can affect vision in other ways than total blindness as well, which can lead to dangerous situations where a patient is unaware that their vision is lessened until it's too late.
Diabetic patients should endeavor to have their eyes checked at least annually for eye conditions that diabetes can both cause and cause to advance. Here are some of the common diseases your ophthalmologist or optometrist should look for during your annual visit.
Cataracts is the clouding or fogging of the lens of the eye, which is normally clear. This clouding can vary in degree of severity, and it usually affects both eyes in time. Generally, cataracts can be found in older patients, but younger ones can also present with this issue. People with diabetes are more likely to get cataracts at an earlier age than other people, and their cataracts often worsen more quickly than those in non-diabetic individuals.
If a diabetic should notice their vision growing cloudy, they should visit a board licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist as soon as possible for a diagnosis and treatment options to avoid genuine complications from cataracts.
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the small blood vessels of the eye. High blood sugar and blood pressure can both cause your eye's small blood vessels to rupture and scar over the course of the disease.
This damage sometimes can be asymptomatic (called 'background retinopathy'), but it can also significantly reduce vision. Both symptomatic and non symptomatic versions of retinopathy should be carefully monitored for by your eye doctor, especially the longer you've had diabetes.
Glaucoma is a disease resulting from a buildup of pressure within the eye, which damages the eye's nerves and vessels and consequently can result in vision impairment or even blindness. Because diabetes is so rough on blood vessels naturally, glaucoma can advance more rapidly in diabetics than in other people.
Glaucoma is usually asymptomatic until it has become very advanced, so annual glaucoma screening from an optometrist is essential for diabetic individuals. However, at America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses, we screen for glaucoma and other diseases in all patients.
The best prevention for these diseases in relationship to diabetes is to properly control your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, as well as to avoid smoking. However, even if you control all of these factors, you still need to see an eye doctor a minimum of once a year, and more frequently if you start to show signs of any ocular disease.
Be sure to take notes about any changes or unusual occurrences in your vision to share with your doctor during your visit, and call if you have questions or concerns. If any drastic changes occur, schedule an appointment with the optometrist inside your local America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses' store immediately.
You can easily schedule a free eye exam* online today. You'll be able to select the store, date and time that fits your schedule.