Protect Your Vision: Take Prevention Seriously
Diabetic Retinopathy: What Is It?
It’s a disease of the retina (light-sensing tissue at the back of the eye) that’s a common concern among people with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy damages the tiny vessels that supply the retina with blood.
Are You or Someone in Your Family at Risk?
Most people with diabetes may never develop serious eye problems. However, the longer you have diabetes and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy. The risk increases if you:
- Have poorly controlled blood sugar levels
- Have high blood pressure
- Have high cholesterol
- Are pregnant
- Are black or Hispanic
Reduce the Risk
- Take oral diabetic medications and insulin as directed.
- Monitor blood sugar level as instructed by a doctor.
- Ask a doctor about an HbA1c blood test that shows blood sugar level over the last three months.
There are warning signs of eye problems. Call your doctor if you have:
- Blurred sight for more than two days
- Blindness or sudden loss of sight in one or both eyes
- Black spot, cobwebs or flashing lights in your vision
- Redness in your eye
- Pain or pressure in your eye
When diabetic retinopathy is in the mild or moderate stage, good blood sugar control can slow its progression.
Those at risk should remember to schedule an annual dilated eye exam, even if their vision seems fine. It’s important to find diabetic retinopathy early. Call an eye doctor right away if sudden vision changes occur or if vision becomes blurry, spotty or hazy.