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Diabetic Retinopathy: A Leading Cause of Blindness

Diabetes is the primary causal agent of vision loss among adults aged 20-74 years. In just the last four years, over four million men and women in North America afflicted with diabetes were tested positive for diabetes related blindness. Of this group, seventy thousand suffered from severe diabetic retinopathy, which can result in untreatable vision loss.

While not every individual is at risk of diabetes related vision loss, it is important to know the relation between the disease and blindness.

Firstly, adults diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk. Anyone in this category should ensure that they have an eye exam once a year. The longer the disease remains unmonitored, the stronger the danger of diabetes caused vision loss. Timely treatment is necessary to halting further loss.

Expectant mothers that have been diagnosed with pregnancy-related diabetes have a higher likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is crucial to have a comprehensive dilated eye examination after diagnosis as well.

Maybe you are wondering, why all the panic? Wouldn’t there be symptoms of sight deterioration?

Well the answer surprisingly is no. There are several forms of diabetic retinopathy, and only those which are in the acute stages are noticeable. Progressive diabetes can have no signs. Macular edema is another diabetes caused disease which results in extreme sight loss. Both afflictions can appear without any obvious signs. This is why early recognition is the key to stopping any irreparable damage.

A thorough evaluation will look for precursors of diabetic retinopathy. There are multiple stages to this exam which will expose the typical signs, such as a swelling of the retina, the existence of fatty deposits on the retina, leaky blood vessels, and damaged nerve tissue. What is involved in a complete eye test?

The eye doctor will perform a visual acuity exam by means of an eye chart that is used to assess how accurately you see at various distances. This is identical to the visual acuity exams given by your optometrist, to see if you require glasses.

During a dilated eye exam, the optometrist puts drops in your eyes to amplify the size of your pupils. Though not a particularly beloved test by the squeamish, it can stop deterioration in your vision in subsequent years. This procedure makes it feasible to monitor a larger part of the interior portion of your eyes to look for specific clues that show the presence of diabetic retinopathy. The short discomfort may save your eye sight.

Regularly monitor your health. Even a little hesitation might cause severe damage. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is necessary to book an eye exam with your optometrist once a year without fail.