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Diabetes: Eyes

Get an eye exam.

While rare, it is a fact that people with diabetes are at a higher risk for vision problems.

According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes are 40% more likely to suffer from glaucoma than people without diabetes. People with diabetes are 60% more likely to get cataracts than people without diabetes. The World Health Organization reports that 1% of “global blindness can be attributed to diabetes.” Diabetic retinopathy is a term for disorders of the retina caused by this disease and can cause anything from blurred vision to blindness, though that is rare.

There are typically no warning signs or symptoms of these vision problems until the damage to the eye has been done. Risk for conditions like glaucoma increase with age, regardless of how well other symptoms of diabetes are being managed. While it is recommended that everyone get an annual eye exam, people with diabetes should not miss this important checkup for their eyes. If eye problems are ignored and blood glucose levels are not kept in check, eye surgery may be required to restore some sight.

As with many complications from diabetes, the way to avoid vision problems is by keeping blood sugar levels at a healthy level. Blood pressure should also be kept low to maintain good eye health.



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