I think we can all agree that no one walks around wishing that they had diabetes. We all know about the constant finger pricking and the need for insulin to keep blood glucose levels stay in check, but how many of us really understand the world of complications that come with the diagnosis? How many of us know that blindness is a potential complication of diabetes? Would we work harder at prevention if we were truly aware of all the risks? For many, these realizations are only uncovered after the arrival of a diabetes diagnosis, which is far too late.
The International Diabetes Federation states that about one-third of those suffering from diabetes will likely develop problems with their eye health. The longer you have diabetes, the higher your chances of becoming visually impaired. Experts estimate that as many as 70 million people could have sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy by the year 2040. Early diagnosis and treatment-based intervention are essential to helping diabetics preserve their vision as they age.
Glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy risks are all significantly increased by the presence of diabetes. What are these conditions? Glaucoma is essentially a drainage problem within the eye. The eye produces a natural fluid called aqueous humor that helps maintain its soft, round structure and bring nutrients to the eye’s cells. Normally, that fluid drains out through internal passageways, making room for the eye to produce a continuous flow of new fluid and keep things functioning regularly. However, these drainage pathways may become blocked, causing pressure to build up within the eye which results in damage to the optic nerve. A cataract is a vision impairment that causes the lens of the eye to become cloudy, making sight often obstructed, blurry, or even yellow-looking. Diabetic retinopathy refers to the many complications that can arise within the retina of the eye due to diabetes. These include blood vessel complications that can eventually lead to blindness if left unaddressed.
Putting Off Your Eye Exam?
When is the last time you went to the eye doctor? Unless you notice a significant change in your vision, you may believe it’s okay to put off scheduling an eye exam. Think again. Regular examinations could alert you to potential eye health concerns. If you are suffering from diabetes, or even temporary gestational diabetes, meeting with your eye doctor is imperative. An eye doctor can help you keep your vision intact and can prevent small vision problems from turning into bigger, sight-threatening vision problems.
Diabetes: Still Time for Prevention?
There may still be time for you to prevent the onset of diabetes and avoid many health complications, like vision impairment, that may come with it. The foods we eat and the activities we participate in can play a huge role in the development of diabetes. Talk to your doctor to assess your risks and create a plan that sets you up for a life of good health. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, make sure you are talking to your doctor regularly about all the ways you can keep symptoms in check and maintain long-term health. Prevention and maintenance are essential for living a long and comfortable life.
Knowledge is power, but only if you use it.
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