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Learn About Diabetic Retinopathy and Vision Loss During National Diabetes Month


Did you know that diabetes is the number one precursor to impaired vision among adults between age twenty and seventy-four? Since 2008, over four million people in North America suffering from diabetes were tested positive for diabetic retinopathy. Of this number, seventy thousand were afflicted with advanced diabetic retinopathy, which can result in irreversible blindness.


While not everyone is at risk of diabetes related vision loss, it is important to know the connection between the disease and loss of sight.


To start, individuals living with diabetes are at risk. Anyone in this category should ensure that they have an eye exam once a year. The longer the disease goes unmonitored, the stronger the risk of diabetes related vision loss. Speedy treatment is necessary to halting further loss.


Women who are pregnant that are afflicted with gestational diabetes have a greater risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is crucial to schedule a complete dilated eye test after diagnosis as well.


You may wonder why all the concern? Wouldn't there be tell tale symptoms of sight deterioration?


The answer surprisingly is no. There are several types of diabetic retinopathy, and only those in the acute stages are noticeable. Advanced diabetes may have no signs. Macular edema is another diabetes caused disease which results in extreme blindness. Both afflictions may develop without obvious symptoms. This is a reason that early diagnosis is central to preventing lasting deterioration.


A complete test will look for signs of diabetic retinopathy. There are various phases to this exam which will show the typical clues, such as damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, the presence of fatty deposits on the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is involved in a comprehensive vision exam?


First of all you will undergo a visual acuity examination by means of an eye chart which is used to assess how correctly you are able to see at varying distances. This is similar to the visual acuity checks given by optometrists should you require corrective lenses.


In a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor puts drops in your eyes to amplify your pupils. Though not a favorite of most people, it can save you blindness in subsequent years. This method makes it easier to monitor a larger section of the inside of your eyes to look for distinct clues that indicate the presence of diabetic retinopathy. The fleeting discomfort will probably save your ability to see.


It is important to value your sight. Even a little complacency can lead to serious damage. If you are living with diabetes, it is crucial to plan an eye examination with your eye doctor without further delay.