The Dangers of Diabetic Eye Disease
on August 3, 2012
Diabetes is on the rise around the world and so are its related diseases and complications. According to the World Health Organization, 10 percent of the world’s population is afflicted with diabetes. In some countries, the numbers and statistics rise to as high as 40 percent. Unfortunately, people with diabetes are at risk for serious eye disease called Diabetic Eye Disease. This includes, but is not limited to, eye movement problems, cataract, glaucoma, and diseases of the retina. This may also be called or Diabetic Retinopathy.
Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes and a leading cause of blindness. It occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels inside the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Having good vision is predicated on a healthy retina. Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes.
There are four stages of Diabetic Retinopathy: Mild, Moderate, Severe, and Advanced. The early stage of Diabetic Retinopathy may not have any noticeable side affects, such as partial vision loss, but micro-aneurysms cause swelling in the retina's tiny blood vessels. As the stages progress and worsen, the retina becomes increasingly affected, which leads to vision degradation and ultimately vision loss.
Diabetic Retinopathy poses risks to anyone diagnosed diabetes. Therefore, everyone with diabetes should receive a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year to check for early symptoms of the disease. Between 40 to 45 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of Diabetic Retinopathy.
As severe as Diabetic Retinopathy may be, treatment is available. Like diabetes, the first step is to manage dieting to control the levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol. More severe cases may be treated with laser therapy.
Diabetic Retinopathy is a very real danger for those diagnosed with any type of diabetes. Without receiving proper treatment, Diabetic Retinopathy may lead to vision loss. However, with proper awareness and treatment it is manageable and curable.