Diabetes is the most prevalent disease today. 29 million Americans have diabetes and there are millions more who are do not even know they are living with it. Unfortunately, diabetes can lead to many serious complications including blindness. Diabetes is associated with an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy can develop when uncontrolled or high blood sugar causes structural damage and weakening of the blood vessels in the eye that nourish the retina. Glucose enters the cells compromising the structure of the blood vessels which can then lead to hemorrhages, deposits, and fluid leaking into the retina. 12% of new cases of blindness are a result of diabetic retinopathy. Some early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy are cloudy, blurry vision or floaters. Some people may have early stages of diabetic retinopathy with no symptoms at all.
Diabetes can also lead to glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve resulting in vision loss. People with diabetes have a 40% more likelihood of developing glaucoma. Cataracts are another condition that can result from diabetes. Cataracts are a clouding of the clear lens of our eyes. Those with diabetes are 60% more likely to develop more severe cataracts earlier in life.
Make sure you see your primary care physician for a check-up to make sure you do not have diabetes. If you are a diabetic, seeing your eye doctor regularly is important in preventing vision loss. Early stages of the disease may be affecting your eyes but produce no visual symptoms at all. Regular monitoring of vision and early detection of damage are essential to prevent bigger problems from arising since some complications can cause permanent damage. Call Chelsea Eye Associates at (212) 257-0007 so that Dr. Rosalyn Perez can examine your eyes today. An eye exam can save your vision!