Learning the signs and symptoms of diabetes-related eye complications

People with diabetes are at risk for vision loss caused by retinal diseases like Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). Here’s what to know.

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What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes-related eye diseases?

When you’re living with diabetes, it’s important to think about diabetes-related complications and how they can impact your life.

People with diabetes are at risk for vision loss caused by retinal diseases like Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).

I have visited the eye doctor every year since I was 5 years old, so my doctor and I are routinely talking about these complications and looking out for any signs, or symptoms.

Here are some low vision complications to look out for.

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)

Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that causes damage to the blood vessels of the retina – the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back part of the eye, allowing you to see fine detail.

DR is the most common cause of irreversible blindness in working-age Americans and occurs in more than half of the people who develop diabetes.

It is possible to have DR for a long time without noticing symptoms until substantial damage has occurred. Symptoms of DR may occur in one or both eyes.

Symptoms of severe DR that you should talk to your doctor about include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Difficulty reading
  • The appearance of spots in your vision
  • A shadow across the field of vision
  • Difficulty with color perception

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) is caused by DR. DME is the most common cause of vision loss in people with diabetic retinopathy.

Poor blood sugar control and additional medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, increase the risk of blindness for people with DME.

DME can occur at any stage of diabetic retinopathy, although it is more likely to occur later as the disease goes on.

Experts estimate that approximately 7.7 million Americans have diabetic retinopathy and of those, about 750,000 also have DME.

A recent study suggests that non-Hispanic African Americans are three times more likely to develop DME than non-Hispanic whites, most likely due to the higher incidence of diabetes in the African American population.

Visit http://bit.ly/2ShJC10  to learn more about the importance of regular check-ups and the signs to look for.

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