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National Diabetes Month: Be Aware

Too many people are not aware that diabetes can lead to vision loss. Diabetes is the leading cause of loss of sight in people between the ages of 20 and 74 according to recent studies by the NIH. One of the risks of diabetes is when the retina is damaged by excessive pressure in the blood vessels of the eye, which is called diabetic retinopathy. This condition causes severe vision impairment and even blindness. Anyone with the disease is at risk and it has affected over 3.7 million people in America over the past 10 years. This number is expected to reach 11 million cases by 2030.

Diabetic retinopathy can be undetected until it is too late. Vision loss occurs when the blood vessels in the retina begin to leak. If the disease is not detected, blood vessels may be completely stopped up or additional vessels may grow on the retina leading to irreparable vision loss.

If you are diabetic and you notice any sort of vision problems, such as fluctuations in eyesight, floaters, double vision, shadows or spots or any pain in your eye schedule a visit with an optometrist. Diabetics are also at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma due to the strain it causes on the eyes.

The risk of diabetic eye disease is higher when glucose levels are uncontrolled. Carefully monitoring your diabetes through diet, exercise and staying healthy and yearly eye exams is the best combination for preventing vision loss.

This month, spread awareness of the risks of diabetic retinopathy and consult with your optometrist if you have any questions. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.

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