Are you aware that diabetes is the dominant causal factor of blindness among men and women of all ages? In just the last four years, over four million people in North America suffering from diabetes were found to have blindness caused by diabetes. Of this group, 70,000 had advanced diabetic retinopathy, which, if left unmonitored, will lead to untreatable blindness.
While not everyone is at risk of diabetes related vision loss, it is important to understand the relation between the disease and loss of sight.
Having diabetes is the first risk factor. Anyone in this category should ensure that they have an eye exam once a year. The longer the affliction goes undiagnosed, the stronger the risk of diabetes related vision loss. Speedy treatment is the key to halting further deterioration.
Women who are expecting that are found to have gestational diabetes have a greater risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is advisable to undergo a complete dilated eye exam after diagnosis as well.
You may ask yourself why all the panic? Wouldn’t you notice signs of blindness?
Well the truth is, not necessarily. There are several types of diabetic retinopathy, and only those in the acute stages are obvious. Advanced diabetes can lead to blindness. Macular edema is another diabetes related disease which results in extreme blindness. Both afflictions can appear without any obvious symptoms. This is why early discovery is important to preventing irreversible deterioration.
A comprehensive examination will seek out signs of diabetic retinopathy. There are individual steps to this exam which will detect the tell-tale indicators, including damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is entailed in a comprehensive vision exam?
The eye doctor will perform a visual acuity test by means of an eye chart which is used to assess how correctly you are able to see at various distances. This is similar to the visual acuity tests given by your eye doctor to see if you require corrective lenses.
In a dilated eye exam, the optometrist puts drops in your eyes to exaggerate the size of your pupils. Though not a favorite of the faint of heart, it can stop a lot of heartache in 10-15 years. This practice makes it easier to examine a larger part of the interior portion of your eyes to check for distinct signs that indicate the presence of diabetic retinopathy. The cursory discomfort could save your eye sight.
Regularly monitor your health. Even a little laziness can lead to irreversible deterioration. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is imperative to plan a vision exam with an optometrist every year.