Data shows an alarming trend—the increasing rate of diabetes in the United States. The CDC reports that more than 1 in 3 Americans have prediabetes. To make matters worse, 80% of these individuals are unaware of their serious condition. Though diabetes is often associated with kidney, cardiovascular, or nerve issues, this Diabetic Eye Disease Month is raising awareness about one of diabetes’ lesser-known complications: severe eye damage.
While many assume that only diabetics face these issues, studies show that eye damage can begin during the prediabetic phase when blood glucose levels are higher than usual. Fortunately, regular checkups with your eye care professional and visits with your primary care doctor can prevent these issues from arising or treat them promptly for better health.
There are several kinds of diabetic eye diseases. High blood sugar levels can cause the fluid in the lens to cloud over, resulting in premature cataracts that have the potential to rapidly progress.
Retinopathy is another diabetic eye disease. Nonproliferative retinopathy is the early stage of this condition. It causes the blood vessels in the retina to weaken. It can lead to a serious complication called macular edema. When this occurs, fluid leaks into the macula and can cause vision loss if not treated. Proliferative retinopathy is the more advanced stage where the body attempts to restore blood supplies by growing new blood vessels in the retina. However, these tend to be weak, leak blood, and worsen the issue.
Whether you suffer from a diabetic eye disease or not, visiting an eye care professional regularly is important—especially if you are diabetic or prediabetic. Visits allow your provider to determine the health of your eyes, spot asymptomatic diseases, and prevent the development of certain health conditions.
Fortunately, if you already have a diabetic eye disease, there are treatment options. While cataract surgery and implantable lenses can help patients with cataracts, laser treatments or anti-VEGF injections may be suitable for those with retinopathy.
The longer you have diabetes or prediabetes, the higher your chances are of sustaining eye damage. Early diagnosis with treatment or (better yet) prevention is ideal. Controlling your blood sugar levels as well as visiting your primary care physician and eye provider regularly make all the difference. This Diabetic Eye Disease Month is the time to take control of your eye health. Book your appointment at Better Vision New Jersey today!