The American Academy of Ophthalmology has deemed November as Diabetic Eye Disease Month, a campaign designed to raise awareness on a group of eye-related complications brought on by diabetes. Here, the eye surgeons at Clarity Eye Group discuss symptoms of diabetic eye disease, as well as ways to reduce your risk.
How Diabetes Affects Eye Health
Diabetics have difficulty controlling the amount of sugar in their blood. Uncontrolled blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels in the eye. When the blood vessels that nourish the retina are damaged, diabetic retinopathy can occur. This is the most common cause of vision loss among diabetics. The longer someone has had diabetes, the more likely they are to develop diabetic retinopathy. Symptoms include eye floaters and spots, fluctuating vision, blurry vision and double vision. In advanced cases, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness.
A complication of diabetic retinopathy is macular edema, which occurs when fluid builds up in the central part of the retina, known as the macula. Approximately half of all people with diabetic retinopathy develop diabetic macular edema. Symptoms include blurry vision in the central field of vision and difficulty recognizing faces, driving and reading.
Diabetics are also more likely to develop cataracts and glaucoma, two very common eye diseases.
Lowering Your Risk of Diabetic Eye Disease
The best way to lower your risk of diabetic eye disease is to keep your diabetes under control. This includes doing the following:
- Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Taking your medications as prescribed
- Seeing your primary care doctor regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Not smoking
- Eating a well-balanced diet
- Exercising regularly
- Getting regular eye exams to check for eye-related complications
Many eye diseases, including those linked to diabetes, begin with little if any visual symptoms. Routine eye exams with an eye doctor are key to detecting signs of eye diseases in their early stages, when they are more easily treatable.
To schedule an appointment with one of the trusted eye doctors at Clarity Eye Group, please contact our Huntington Beach office today.