Regular eye screenings help patients living with diabetes to detect potential eye conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy, before it is too late.
This disease is the leading cause of blindness in the world. It occurs when diabetes damages the small blood vessels in the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue located in the back of the eye that transforms light into nerve signals that are sent to the brain.
According to the National Eye Institute, this condition can worsen and lead to vision loss, which in some cases can affect both eyes. Diabetes can also cause crossed eyes, increasing the risk for cataracts and glaucoma.
According to the World Health Organization, 25% of people living with diabetes have some form of diabetic retinopathy.
Getting an eye exam once a year reduces the chances of this condition developing. In patients with type 2 diabetes, there are almost no symptoms, making it difficult to detect. Getting an early diagnosis for this is important to prevent the disease from progressing and in order to begin effective treatment as soon as possible.
Provided that a macular edema has not occurred, the most acute form of this medical complication, the first steps to prevent the further progress of this disease are to control blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. With more severe phases, the most effective option for stabilizing one’s vision is laser surgery, which reduces the risk of vision loss between 50% and 95% depending on the case.