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Home » What's New » Diabetic Retinopathy: A Leading Cause of Vision Loss

Diabetic Retinopathy: A Leading Cause of Vision Loss


Diabetes is the main causal factor of impaired sight among men and women between age twenty and seventy-four. As of 2008, over 4 million men and women in North America afflicted with diabetes were found to have blindness caused by diabetes. Of this number, seventy thousand suffered from acute diabetic retinopathy, which can result in irreversible vision loss.


So, how important is it to get tested for diabetic retinopathy?


Firstly, those living with diabetes are at risk. The best way to learn if you have diabetes related vision loss is to have your optometrist give you a complete eye test yearly. The longer the affliction goes unchecked, the greater the risk of diabetes related vision loss. Quick treatment is the key to preventing further loss.


Women who are expecting that are found to have pregnancy-related diabetes have a better likelihood of contracting diabetic retinopathy. It is important to have a complete dilated eye exam after diagnosis as well.


So why all the concern? Won't there be symptoms of blindness?


Well the truth is no. There are many kinds of diabetic retinopathy, and only those which are in the severe stages are obvious. Progressive diabetes may have no symptoms. Macular edema is another diabetes caused disease which results in extreme vision loss. Both afflictions can manifest with no obvious signs. This is a reason that early detection is essential to stopping any irreversible damage.


A thorough evaluation will detect evidence of diabetic retinopathy. There are individual parts to this exam which will expose the tell-tale clues, such as damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, the existence of fatty deposits on the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is entailed in a comprehensive eye test?


Firstly, you will get a visual acuity examination by means of an eye chart that is used to assess how accurately you see at different distances. This is identical to the visual acuity exams given by your eye doctor, should you require corrective lenses.


In a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor puts drops in your eyes to amplify your pupils. Though not a particularly beloved test by the squeamish, it can stop blindness later on. This procedure makes it possible to examine a larger section of the inside of your eyes to check for distinct signs that show the presence of diabetic retinopathy. The fleeting discomfort could save your ability to see.


Regularly monitor your eye sight. Even a little laziness can lead to irreversible deterioration. If you have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it is imperative to plan an eye examination with an eye doctor as soon as possible.