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Diabetic Eye Disease – What is it and how can you tell if it’s being caused by diabetes?

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Diabetic Eye Disease – What is it and how can you tell if it’s being caused by diabetes? 

eye disease

Diabetes is on the rise in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 84 million US adults—over a third—have prediabetes, and 90% of them don’t know they have it. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States (and may be underreported). Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5%.

Did you know that diabetes can cause additional ailments including eye disease? Diabetes is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide, and, in the United States, it is the most common cause of blindness in people younger than 65 years of age.

The signs and symptoms of diabetic eye disease, also known as retinopathy, encompass a wide range of other eye problems, for example:

  • Diabetes may cause a reversible, temporary blurring of the vision, or it can cause a severe, permanent loss of vision.
  • Diabetes increases the risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma.

How can you tell if diabetes is affecting your eyes? 

  • Some people may not even realize they have had diabetes for several years until they begin to experience problems with their eyes or vision.
  • Diabetes also may result in heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and circulatory abnormalities of the legs.
  • The American Diabetes Association estimates that 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 8.1 million people additional people went undiagnosed. (This population is unaware that they have diabetes.)
  • In the United States 1.5 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed every year.
  • In the US in 2012, the total annual cost of diagnosed diabetes was 2.45 billion.
  • Eighty-four million people in the US have prediabetes, and 9 out of every 10 don’t know they have it. Of the 84 million people with prediabetes, without lifestyle changes 15% to 30% of them will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.
  • Lifestyle management has been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and prediabetes by at least two-thirds. It can also slow or halt the progression of prediabetes to diabetes.

How can I protect my eyes from diabetes?

  • People can try to avoid the problems associated with diabetes, including those that affect the eyes, by taking appropriate care of themselves by the following:
    • Maintain a normal level of weight
    • Watch your diet, especially limiting unhealthy types of fats and substituting complex carbohydrates for simple carbohydrates.
    • Participate in an exercise program. Try to exercise for least 30 minutes, five days a week or more. There are many ways to accomplish this without any expense. Go for a walk after lunch or dinner, ride bikes with the kids, plan an activity with a partner or friend, or rent an exercise DVD. Always check with your health-care professional before starting any exercise program.
    • Don’t smoke or quit if you do.

Are you experiencing eye disease with your diabetes? Talk to your doctor today.

 

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