Did you know that diabetes is the main precursor to blindness among adults aged 20-74 years? If not, you are not alone. As of 2008, over four million individuals in North America suffering from diabetes were subsequently diagnosed with diabetes related blindness. Of this group, 70,000 had advanced diabetic retinopathy, which can result in total loss of vision.
While not every individual is at risk of diabetes related vision loss, it is good to understand the relation between the disease and vision loss.
Firstly, adults diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk. The best way to learn if you have diabetes related vision loss is to have your eye care professional perform an eye exam yearly. The longer the disease remains undiagnosed, the greater the danger of diabetes caused vision loss. Speedy treatment will go a long way in preventing further deterioration.
Women who are expecting that are found to have gestational diabetes have a higher possibility of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is important to have a comprehensive dilated eye examination after diagnosis as well.
Maybe you are wondering, why all the worry? Wouldn’t you notice symptoms of sight deterioration?
The answer surprisingly is no. There are different types of diabetic retinopathy, and only those in the acute phases are easy to discern. Proliferative diabetes can have no symptoms. Macular edema is another diabetes related disease which results in severe vision loss. Both afflictions can develop without obvious signs. This is why early diagnosis is the key to preventing long term deterioration.
A thorough test will discern evidence of diabetic retinopathy. There are various steps to this exam which will show the tell-tale signs, including a swelling of the retina, the existence of fatty deposits on the retina, leaky blood vessels, and damaged nerve tissue. What is included in a complete vision exam?
The eye doctor will perform an examination of visual acuity by means of an eye chart which is used to assess how accurately you can see at varying distances. This is just like the visual acuity tests given by optometrists, should you need corrective lenses.
During a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor puts drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils. Though not a favorite of the squeamish, it can stop deterioration in your sight later on. This procedure makes it easier to see a larger part of the interior portion of your eyes to identify for distinct symptoms that imply the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy. The cursory discomfort could save your ability to see.
When it comes to your health, even a little complacency can cause irreparable deterioration. If you are diabetic, it is essential to book an eye test with an optometrist once a year without fail.