By Kate Ranta on Nov 10, 2015 @ 05:01 PM
November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, and for good reason. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that around 29 million Americans who are 20 years of age or older have diabetes. Unfortunately, the disease puts them at a greater risk for vision loss.
What is Diabetic Eye Disease?
Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye conditions. These include:
Cataracts. This is a clouding of the eye's lens. Diabetic adults are 2-5 times more likely to develop cataracts than those who do not have diabetes. The surgery for this condition involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with a man-made one.
Glaucoma. This is a group of diseases that damages the eye's optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. Those with diabetes are more likely to suffer from an uncommon type of glaucoma known as neovascular glaucoma.
Diabetic Retinopathy. This condition results when the blood vessels inside the retina are damaged due to high blood sugar levels. The longer people have diabetes, the greater the risk they have for developing this serious eye problem.
If you have diabetes, it is important that you contact your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Black spots in your vision
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Flashes of light
- Pain or pressure in one or both eyes
It is very important that people with diabetes have an annual eye exam. This helps detect a problem early when it's easier to treat. Exams can also prevent additional vision loss.
If you have diabetes, please consult your eye doctor for more information.