Diabetes is a widely known yet poorly understood disease. Most everyone knows what diabetes is, or knows someone who has it, but the majority of people, including some who are diabetic, don't understand all of the risks that come with it. In addition to other potential complications, diabetics are at risk of a variety of vision and eye-related problems. Here are a few reasons why you should visit the eye doctor more frequently if you have diabetes.
Increased Risk Of Cataracts
While everyone has some level of risk for developing cataracts, diabetics are at far greater risk than most anyone else. Once referred to as a diabetic condition because of the increased occurrence in diabetics, cataracts cause clouded vision due to a foggy condition created on the inside of the eye's lens. Cataracts are typically treated through surgery. The clouded lens is removed and surgically replaced.
Blood Vessel Damage Causing Diabetic Retinopathy
High blood sugar levels can damage fine blood vessels, including the ones that are in the eyes. When those blood vessels suffer damage, they can leak. The blood and fluid leaking out of the vessels can damage the eye, leading to decreased vision that progresses to blindness.
When retinopathy occurs, it can be difficult to notice the subtle early signs. That's why it's important that you visit your optometrist on a regular basis. He or she will examine your eyes and ensure that there are no visible signs of blood vessel damage. The sooner it is detected, the greater the chances that you can stop its progression and prevent the potential for complete blindness.
Macular Edema Due To Diabetic Retinopathy
For diabetics who suffer diabetic retinopathy, the risk of macular edema is a serious one. Macular edema is a condition marked by leaking blood and fluid around the centermost portion of the retina, known as the macula.
Macular edema develops as a result of the blood vessel damage that's caused by diabetic retinopathy. Failure to diagnose and address retinopathy in its early stages increases your risk of macular edema, though it can develop at any stage once retinopathy has begun.
Routine visits to your optometrist can help to identify these and many other diabetes-related eye conditions. The sooner you identify the effects of diabetes on your eyes, the greater your chances of protecting your vision. Talk with your eye doctor today about any diabetic eye treatments that you may need.
To learn more about diabetic eye concerns and treatments, contact an ophthalmology clinic in your area like Northwest Ophthalmology.