Diabetes is a scary disease which affects many parts of the body - especially the eyes. As a retinal specialist, I take care of people every day with serious diabetic eye problems.
Diabetes can cause bleeding and blood vessel damage in the eyes. This is called diabetic retinopathy. Since these blood vessels are hidden inside the eyes, the damage starts silently. At the beginning, diabetics don’t even know they have a problem! That is, until it gets bad enough to have difficulty seeing. In some cases, sudden blindness can occur.
While there are effective treatments to fight diabetic retinopathy, nothing beats prevention. If one catches diabetic retinopathy at an early stage, it’s much easier to treat. Sometimes, simply improved sugar control is all that is needed. This is why a routine annual eye exam for all diabetics is so important!
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends:
● All diabetics - Eye exam once a year.
● For Type 1 Diabetes - Annual screenings start at 5 years after first being diagnosed.
There's so much more to know about diabetes and how it can effect the eyes. If you would like to read more, the American Academy of Ophthalmology's website is a great place to start.