Diabetes Complications: Blindness


Diabetes presents many potential complications to eye health.

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Diabetes and Vision Impairment

I think we can all agree that no one walks around wishing that they had diabetes. We all know about the constant finger pricking and the need for insulin to keep blood glucose levels in check, but how many of us really understand the world of complications that come with this diagnosis? How many of us knew (before clicking on this article) that blindness was a potential complication of diabetes? Would we work harder at prevention if we were all made more aware of the risks? For many, these realizations are only uncovered after the arrival of a diabetes diagnosis.

A Vision Crisis

The International Diabetes Federation states that about one-third of those suffering from diabetes will likely develop problems with their eye health. The longer you have diabetes, the higher your risk for vision impairment becomes. Experts estimate that as many as 70 million people could have sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy by the year 2040. Early diagnosis and treatments are essential to helping diabetics preserve their vision health.

How It Happens

Glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy risks are all significantly increased by the presence of diabetes. What are these conditions? Glaucoma is essentially a drainage problem within the eye. Basically, the eye produces natural regulatory fluids that drain out through internal pathways, making room for new fluid to produce. However, these drainage pathways may become blocked, causing pressure to build up within the eye. Increasing pressure inside the eye results in damage to the optic nerve, which causes vision problems. A cataract is a vision impairment that causes the lens of the eye to become cloudy, making sight often obstructed, blurry, or even yellow-looking. Diabetic retinopathy refers to the many complications that can arise within the retina of the eye due to diabetes. These include blood vessel complications that can eventually lead to blindness if left untreated.

Your Eye Doctor Can Help

When is the last time you went to the eye doctor? Unless you notice a change in your vision, you may believe it’s okay to put off scheduling a visit. Think again. Regular examinations could alert you to potential health and eye health concerns you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. If you are suffering from diabetes, or even temporary gestational diabetes, meeting with your eye doctor is imperative. An eye doctor can help you keep your vision intact and can help prevent small vision problems from turning into bigger, sight-threatening diseases.

Take Charge: Diabetes Prevention

There may still be time for you to prevent the onset of diabetes and avoid many health complications, like vision impairment, that may come with it. The foods we eat and the activities we participate in play huge roles in the development of diabetes. Talk to your doctor to assess your risks and create a game plan for keeping your health in check. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, make sure you are talking to your doctor regularly about all the ways you can maintain your health. Prevention and maintenance are essential for living a long and comfortable life.

Knowledge is power, but only if you use it.

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About Cali Naughton

Cali Naughton graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington. She joined the marketing team at Empower Brokerage in the spring of 2021 as a marketing specialist and the department photographer.

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