Rarey does a day pass where I do not see a diabetic patient with bleeding in their retinas and loss of vision due to diabetic eye disease. This is a very preventable problem.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults 20 – 74 years of age. In this condition, the high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes cause the blood vessels of the retina to swell, leak fluid or become blocked. Sometimes abnormal new blood vessels grow on the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can result in severe vision loss.
Prevention is the best step to protect against the damage caused by diabetic eye disease. But although diabetic eye disease cannot be cured, ophthalmologists offer a number of treatments to reduce or halt the loss of vision. This can only happen if the problem is detected early enough—and unfortunately, patients may not notice that anything is amiss during the early stages. So regular eye exams are extra-important for people with diabetes.
If you have diabetes, be sure to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Diabetic eye disease often has no early warning signs, but can be detected early and treated before vision loss occurs. Don't wait until you notice an eye problem to have a dilated eye exam, because vision that is lost often cannot be restored.