Protect your vision by controlling your diabetes

Senior woman stretching legs outdoorOf all the reasons to keep a close watch on diabetes, here is our favorite: Your eyesight may depend on it. Did you know that 30.3 million people, or 9.4% of the U.S. population, have diabetes? If you have diabetes, you’re at risk for diabetic eye disease. That is the umbrella term for what can happen to your eyes if you have diabetes, especially if you don’t keep it under control. It includes cataracts and glaucoma, but the most common disease is diabetic retinopathy. It’s a leading cause of blindness in the United States.

Diabetic retinopathy is blood vessel damage in the retina, which is located at the back of the eye. The early stages of diabetic retinopathy usually don’t have any symptoms; later stages often result in vision changes and ultimately can lead to vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy can happen whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Those who also have high blood pressure are at higher risk, as are those who have had diabetes for a long time. So what can you do? Follow your doctor’s instructions for controlling your blood sugar and get regular eye exams.

If a problem is detected, Utah Eye Centers has Retina Specialists on staff. For patients to see the best results, however, our specialists need to treat retina disease in the early stage. That’s why yearly eye exams are so important.

Diabetes also can make you more likely to develop several other eye conditions:

  • Cataracts. Having diabetes makes you 2 to 5 times more likely to develop cataracts, especially at a younger age.
  • Open-angle glaucoma. Having diabetes nearly doubles your risk of developing a type of glaucoma called open-angle glaucoma.

Remember, diabetic eye conditions may not have any symptoms at first. But detecting them early can help you take steps to protect and preserve your vision and have the greatest odds of success. If you have diabetes, it’s vital to get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Need an appointment? Give us a call at (801) 476-0494

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