Did you know that November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month? This is a time to raise awareness about the dangers of diabetic eye disease and how people can protect their vision. The major cause of blindness in adults between the ages of 20 and 74 is diabetic retinopathy, the most common kind of diabetic eye disease. So it is important to be aware of the risks and take steps to prevent eye damage. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common symptoms of diabetic eye disease and what you can do to keep your eyes healthy!
What is Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease is a serious complication that can affect people with diabetes. It is a group of eye problems that can include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma. Over time, diabetes can cause damage to your eyes that can lead to poor vision or even blindness.
But you can take steps to prevent or keep diabetic eye disease from getting worse by taking care of your diabetes. Anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can develop the condition. The longer you have diabetes and the less successfully your blood sugar is controlled, the more likely it is that you will develop this eye complication.
What Are The Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Disease?
Most of the time, diabetic eye disease doesn’t show any early signs. Especially if you have diabetic retinopathy, you may not feel pain or notice a change in your vision as damage grows inside your eyes. When symptoms do show up, they may include:
- Blurred or wavy vision
- Vision frequently alters—sometimes causing dark areas or vision loss day to day
- Low color sensitivity
- Spots or dark strings (also called floaters)
- Flashes of light
Common Diabetic Eye Diseases
There are four main types of diabetic eye diseases:
1. Diabetic Retinopathy
This is the most common type of diabetic eye disease. It happens when diabetes damages the blood vessels in your retina, the part of your eye that senses light and sends images to your brain. Diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness if it’s not treated.
2. Diabetic Macular Edema
This happens when the blood vessels in the macula—the center of your retina that’s responsible for sharp, central vision—leak fluid or become blocked. When this happens, the macula swells, and vision is blurred.
A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the lens of your eye. It can make your vision blurry and make it harder to see at night. Cataracts are common in people over 60, but they can also be caused by diabetes.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can damage your optic nerve. The optic nerve carries images from your eye to your brain. Glaucoma can cause vision loss and blindness if it’s not treated.
How to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic retinopathy is not always preventable. But getting regular eye exams, keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure under control, and getting help for vision problems as soon as possible can help keep you from losing your sight.
If you have diabetes, you can reduce your risk of getting diabetic retinopathy by doing the following:
- Controlling your diabetes. Include healthy eating and exercise in your daily routine. Each week, try to do at least 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise, like walking. Take diabetes pills or insulin as instructed.
- Monitor your blood sugar level regularly. You may need to check and write down your blood sugar level more often if you are sick or under a lot of stress. Find out from your doctor how often you should check your blood sugar.
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
- Quit smoking. Smoking makes you more likely to get diabetic retinopathy and other problems related to diabetes.
- Ask your doctor for a glycosylated hemoglobin test. The glycosylated hemoglobin test, also called the hemoglobin A1C test, shows how high your average blood sugar level has been over the past two to three months. Most people with diabetes want their A1C to be less than 7%.
- Pay attention to any changes in your vision. Contact your eye doctor right away if your vision changes or gets blurry, spotted, or hazy all of a sudden.
Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month is a good time to get your eyes checked and take steps to protect your vision. Diabetes-related eye disease is the most common reason adults go blind, but it can be prevented. Controlling your blood sugar level is the best way to prevent diabetic eye disease.
If you have diabetes, it is important to get regular eye exams and take steps to keep your blood sugar level under control. This will help to prevent diabetic eye disease, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults. You can schedule a diabetic eye exam at Tayani Institute.