Complications of Diabetes
Heart Disease and Stroke |
Diabetic Kidney Disease |
Hypertension and Diabetic Kidney Disease |
Diabetic Eye Disease |
Diabetic Neuropathy |
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may have as a complication of the disease. All of these diseases can cause vision loss or even blindness. They include diabetic retinopathy, damage to the vessels of the retina; cataract, clouding of the eye's lens and glaucoma, an increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and vision loss.
Diabetic retinopathy is the
most common eye disease associated with diabetes and it's the leading cause of blindness in American adults.
Who gets diabetic
Anyone who has diabetes. The
longer you have diabetes, the more likely you'll get it. Nearly half of all people with diabetes will develop some degree of the disease. The National Eye Institute estimates that as many as 24,000 people with diabetes lose their vision every year.
How can it be prevented?
Retinopathy can be slowed or even halted by visiting your eye doctor. If you are between 10 and 29 years old and have had diabetes for at least five years, you should have an annual dilated eye exam. If you are 30 or older, you should have an annual dilated eye exam, no
matter how short a time you have had diabetes. More frequent exams may be needed if you have eye disease, according to the American Diabetes
Tight control of blood glucose has a tremendous impact on preventing this disease. In 1993, the federal study, Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, revealed that tight control reduced the risk of developing retinopathy by a whopping 76 percent. In people who already had eye disease at the start of the study, tight control slowed the progression of the disease by 54 percent.
What are the symptoms of
There may be no signs or, at first there may be few signs of this disease. An annual eye exam is the best way to catch it in its early stages. A doctor can detect the blood vessel changes in the eye that signal the presence of retinopathy. Blurred vision may occur when the macula--the part of the retina that provides sharp, central vision--swells from fluid leaking from vessels.
What is the treatment?
Your eye care professional may suggest laser surgery in which a strong light beam is aimed onto the retina to shrink the abnormal vessels. Laser surgery has been proven to reduce the risk of severe vision loss from this type of diabetic retinopathy by 60 percent. However,
laser surgery often cannot restore vision that has already been lost. That is why finding diabetic retinopathy early is the best way to prevent vision loss.