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Diabetes: A Leading Cause of Blindness


Did you know that diabetes is the main precursor to vision loss among adults of all ages? If not, you are not alone. As of 2008, over four million people in North America suffering from diabetes were subsequently diagnosed with diabetes related blindness. Of this group, seventy thousand were afflicted with acute diabetic retinopathy, which may result in a complete blindness.


While not everyone is at risk of diabetic retinopathy, it is good to know the link between the disease and vision loss.


To start, adults diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk. One way to find out if you have vision loss caused by diabetes is to have your eye care professional test your vision once a year. The longer the affliction remains unchecked, the stronger the risk of diabetes related vision loss. Timely treatment will go a long way in halting further loss.


Pregnant women that have been afflicted with gestational diabetes have a better likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is advisable to have a comprehensive dilated eye test after diagnosis as well.


You may wonder why all the worry? Wouldn't there be obvious symptoms of sight deterioration?


Well the answer surprisingly is, not always. There are different kinds of diabetic retinopathy, and only those which are in the severe phases are noticeable. Progressive diabetes and macular edema are diabetes-related diseases which result in extreme vision deterioration. Both afflictions can develop with no noticeable symptoms. This is a reason that early diagnosis is central to preventing lasting damage.


An extensive test will search for precursors of diabetic retinopathy. There are various parts to this exam which will expose the standard clues, such as leaky blood vessels, swelling of the retina, the presence of fatty deposits on the retina, and damaged nerve tissue. What is entailed in a complete eye exam?


Firstly, you will get a visual acuity exam by means of an eye chart which is used to assess how well you are able to see at various distances. This is identical to the visual acuity checks given by your eye doctor to see if you require corrective lenses.


To give a dilated eye exam, the optometrist places drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils. Though not a favorite of most patients, it can stop a lot of heartache in subsequent years. This practice makes it feasible to see a larger section of the interior portion of your eyes to check for specific symptoms that reveal the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy. The fleeting discomfort will probably save your vision.


Take care of your health. Even a little complacency can cause irreparable loss. If you are living with diabetes, it is important to book a vision examination with an eye doctor without further delay.