Diabetes and Your Vision

Diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas cannot produce insulin or the body cannot use insulin efficiently. Insulin is needed to break down sugars and starches and turn them into energy for your body. The American Diabetes Association reports that 20.8 million people are afflicted with diabetes in the United States. If diabetes is left untreated, eye diseases such as retinopathy (damage to the retina), cataract (clouding of eye lens) and glaucoma (increased fluid pressure in the eye) could develop, blurring vision and eventually causing blindness.

The early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may be hard to detect. Other vision impairments associated with diabetes are fluctuating vision, loss of central or peripheral vision and spots or flashes in front of the eye.

With the pupil dilated, an ophthalmologist or optometrist can examine the retina for signs of eye diseases including diabetic retinopathy. If diabetic retinopathy is detected, it can be treated by laser surgery. While there is no cure for diabetes or diabetic retinopathy, proper medication, close monitoring of blood sugar levels, a healthy diet and regular exercise help manage this disease and reduce the likelihood of vision-related complications.

For more information, visit the American Diabetes Association.


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