Diabetic Eye Disease
The term “diabetic eye disease” refers to specific changes in the retina and optic nerve caused by diabetes; these changes can result in permanent vision loss. Diabetic eye disease may include diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and even the development of cataracts sooner than expected.
This very serious eye disease is the leading cause of adult vision loss involving the retina and is caused by extreme changes in the blood vessels near the retina. These blood vessels may swell up and leak; sometimes these blood vessels expand and grow on the surface of the retina. Vision may not be affected until this eye disease becomes critical.
Who is at risk for diabetic retinopathy?
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you are at risk. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to experience vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy is estimated to be present in 90% of those who have had the disease for 20 or more years.
What can be done to lower that risk?
The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial conducted by the National Eye Institute showed that better control of blood sugar levels can slow the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy.
Just as important are regular eye exams and an ongoing partnership with a qualified eye care professional who is familiar with the condition of your eyes.