Diabetes can cause long-term complications to many of the body’s organs including the eyes. It is the leading cause of blindness for adults age 20 to 74.
Diabetes is a condition that interferes with our ability to use and store sugar. This causes disturbances within the eye, which over time, weaken and cause changes in the small blood vessels that nourish the retina of the eye. When this occurs, it is called diabetic retinopathy. This can seriously affect vision and, if left untreated, can lead to blindness.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may include blurred central or peripheral vision. However, no symptoms may be present depending on where the blood vessel changes are taking place in your eye’s retina. Since the disease can cause blindness, early diagnosis and treatment are essential. A yearly eye examination by your optometrist is recommended.
To detect diabetic retinopathy, an optometrist will look inside the eye at the retina and the blood vessels. If it is diagnosed, laser and other surgical treatments can be used to reduce the progression of the disease and reduces the risk of vision loss.
Not every diabetic patient develops retinopathy, but the chances of getting it increase after having diabetes for several years. To help prevent diabetic retinopathy take medications as instructed, follow a proper diet, exercise regularly, and have your eyes examined regularly.
If you have a question concerning your eyes, ask Dr. Picken directly by emailing him at prairie firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Jace Picken is an optometrist at Prairie Vision Center in Wahpeton