It’s hard not to introduce frightening statistics when it comes to the impact that diabetes can have on your eye health, starting with the alarming fact that diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults in the United States. And future predictions are even grimmer.
Here at Suburban Eye Associates, our experienced team of ophthalmologists understands the clear and present (and future) danger that diabetes presents when it comes to your eye health and we’re here to help.
While we have a clear idea about the threat of vision loss when you have diabetes, we want to make sure that you appreciate this serious complication, too, so that we can work together to preserve your vision.
Diabetes and your eye health
When you have diabetes, the levels of glucose in your bloodstream can be abnormally high thanks to lack of insulin or insulin resistance. Over time, these high levels of blood sugar can damage the delicate blood vessels toward the back of your eyes, causing them to swell and leak.
To combat the damage, your eyes can form new blood vessels, but they’re far weaker and end up doing more harm than good. These newcomers often bleed, which can lead to scarring and abnormal pressure in your eye.
As a result of this vascular damage in your eye, you’re far more prone to certain eye disease than those who don’t have diabetes, including:
- Diabetic retinopathy — the damaged blood vessels can impair your retina
- Diabetic macular edema — swelling in the area of your retina that controls central vision
- Glaucoma — abnormal intraocular pressure in your eyes
- Cataracts — clouding of your lenses
While glaucoma and cataracts are common among people who don’t have diabetes, your chances of developing either of these eye diseases increases twofold when you do have diabetes.
Diabetic eye disease by the numbers
While we’ve already mentioned the statistic about diabetic retinopathy being the leading cause of blindness in adults in the US, we want to flesh the numbers out a little further.
First, about one in three people with diabetes over the age of 40 have some degree of diabetic retinopathy.
Second, between 2000 and 2010, the number of cases of diabetic retinopathy in the US increased 89% to nearly 7.7 million.
Third, this eye-opening, 10-year increase is expected to continue and experts predict that the number of people with diabetic retinopathy will double to 14.6 million by 2050.
While we’ve painted a fairly dire picture here, we want to end our statistical presentation with the one number that should stick with you — early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy can reduce the risk of blindness by 95%.
Protecting your eye health
Our team has extensive experience helping people with diabetes to preserve their vision through a wide range of treatments and approach that include:
- Managing your blood sugar
- Reducing your blood pressure
- Injections and medications
- Laser treatments
- Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and exercising
The bottom line is that when you have diabetes, you need an experienced eye health team in your corner to help you avoid the irreversible and life-changing complications that stem from this chronic disease.
Such a team can be found at our three locations in Huntingdon Valley, Jenkintown, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. To set up your expert diabetic eye care, simply click here to get started.