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Diabetes and Eyesight

Proudly serving the El Segundo, Redondo Beach areas In California.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way we process food for energy and growth. With all forms of diabetes—type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes—the body has trouble converting sugar in the blood into energy, resulting in a host of potential health problems.

Diabetes increases the likelihood that common diabetes-related vision problems or diseases might occur:

Eye exam, women with diabetes in El Segundo, Redondo Beach, CA
  • Diabetics are susceptible to developing cataracts (a clouding of the eye’s lens) earlier in life.
  • Diabetics are almost 50% more likely to develop glaucoma, an eye disorder which damages the optic nerve and causes an increase of internal eye pressure.
  • Macular edema (and macular degeneration) are more common in diabetics because of malfunctioning blood vessels in the middle region of the retina responsible for clear and sharp vision.
  • Last but not least, diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy; an eye disease that can affect the blood vessels in the retina. Almost 45 percent of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have some form of diabetic retinopathy.

That’s why diabetes and eyes are so connected. If you have diabetes, you should understand the possible vision problems caused by diabetes.

Diabetes Statistics

Over 21 million people in the United States have diabetes, with an estimated additional 6 million people unaware they have a form of the disease.

What’s more, an estimated 54 million Americans ages 40 to 74 have prediabetes, a condition that puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

According to a recent American Optometric Association survey, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults ages 20 to 74.

Eye doctor, senior woman eye with diabetic retinopathy in El Segundo, Redondo Beach, CA

Diabetic retinopathy involves swelling, leaking or abnormal growth of blood vessels in or near the retina.

Optometrist, woman sitting in park with signs and symptoms of diabetic retinopathy in El Segundo, Redondo Beach, CA

Diabetes prohibits the body from properly using and storing sugar,

Eye care, senior with diabetic retinopathy in El Segundo, Redondo Beach, CA

What are the causes of diabetic retinopathy and long-term diabetes? Changes in blood-sugar levels is the main culprit.

Eye exam, senior couple with diabetic retinopathy in El Segundo, Redondo Beach, CA

95% of people diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, if treated promptly, can avoid significant vision loss.

  • Since the retina is the light-sensitive region of the back of the eye responsible for processing visual images, diabetic retinopathy can affect your vision in mild, moderate or even severe ways.
  • If you have diabetes, you probably know that your body can't use or store sugar properly. When your blood sugar gets too high, it can damage the blood vessels in your eyes. This damage may lead to diabetic retinopathy. In fact, the longer someone has diabetes, the more likely they are to have retinopathy (damage to the retina) from the disease.
  • Changes in blood-sugar levels increase your risk of diabetic retinopathy, as does long-term diabetes.
  • According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 95% of those with diabetic retinopathy can avoid substantial vision loss if they are treated in time.

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