In 1958, only 1.6 million people were diagnosed with diabetes in the United States. Today, more than 37 million have this chronic disease, to say nothing of the 96 million adults in the US who have prediabetes.
This alarming trend is what fuels our next statistic: Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness.
Our team of experienced health care providers here at LaSante Health Center understands the impact that diabetes can have on your eye health. As part of our wide range of services, we offer optometry services, which include examinations that check for the early signs of diabetic eye disease.
In the following, we explore how diabetes affects your eye health and why regular diabetic eye care is so important.
The high blood sugar levels that are at the heart of diabetes can damage the tiny blood vessels in your eyes, causing them to leak fluid, which can lead to swelling in the sensitive tissues in your eyes.
When this happens, you’re more at risk for certain eye diseases, including:
Damaged blood vessels in your eyes can bulge or leak into your retina, which are the cells toward the back of your eye that receive light and turn the information into signals that your brain interprets.
As diabetic retinopathy progresses, new blood vessels can form in response, which can greatly interfere with your vision.
The maculas in your eyes are responsible for your central vision. When you have diabetes, your maculas can swell, which can impair your ability to see things in front of you.
This is a condition in which your optic nerve is damaged by intraocular pressure. When you have diabetes, you’re more at risk for developing glaucoma.
Cataracts are normal vision issues that occur when the lenses in your eyes break down over time. When you have diabetes, you may develop cataracts prematurely.
As you can see by the list above, there are many ways in which diabetes can rob you of your vision. That said, all of the eye diseases we mentioned are progressive, which means the earlier we can identify them, the sooner you’re able to take steps to preserve your vision.
Through our optometry services, we routinely check for the early signs of diabetic eye disease. From intraocular pressure checks to retinal examinations, we can help you stay one step ahead of diabetic eye disease.
And you should start this higher standard of eye care as soon as you learn of your diabetes diagnosis. Some of these eye diseases don’t present any early warning signs, and if you only come to us when your vision starts to fade, the damage is already done.
For this reason, we recommend that anyone with diabetes should come see us annually for a comprehensive eye exam.
To schedule your diabetic eye exam, contact our Brooklyn, New York, clinic. We serve the Flatbush and East Flatbush, Crown Heights, Park Slope, Little Haiti, Little Caribbean, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens communities.