Diabetes and your Eyes

If you have diabetes, take care of your eyes and know the facts about diabetic eye disease, diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema.

Diabetic eye disease.

Diabetic eye disease, caused by diabetes, is a leading cause of blindness and vision loss. Because of the high risk for eye disease, all people with type 2 diabetes should receive an annual dilated eye exam. For people with type 1 diabetes, an annual dilated exam is recommended after they have had diabetes for 5 years.

Pregnant women with diabetes should see their eye doctor during the first three months of pregnancy and may need follow-up visits.

Basic diabetes facts.

Diabetes is a chronic, complex and destructive disease that can cause a wide range of problems, including heart disease, kidney failure, amputations, and blindness. By taking care of themselves through diet, exercise, and special medications, individuals can control diabetes.

What is diabetic eye disease.

Diabetic eye disease may include:

  • Diabetic retinopathy - damage to the blood vessels in the retina.

  • Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) - a complication of diabetes caused by fluid accumulation in the macula.

  • Cataract - clouding of the eye's lens.

  • Glaucoma - increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and loss of vision

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy affects 8 million Americans with diabetes. A leading cause of blindness in American adults, it is caused by damage to the small blood vessels of the retina. A person is more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy if they have had diabetes for a while and the higher and less controlled blood sugar levels are over time.

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