Although individuals with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age and are twice as likely to develop glaucoma as are non-diabetics, the primary vision problem caused by diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of new cases of blindness and low vision in adults aged 20-65:
- “Retinopathy” is a general term that describes damage to the retina.
In addition, fluid can leak into the macula, the small sensitive area in the center of the retina that provides detailed vision. This fluid can cause macular edema (or swelling), which can occur at any stage of diabetic retinopathy, although it is more likely to occur as the disease progresses.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can include:
- Blurred or double vision
- Flashing lights, which can indicate a retinal detachment
- A veil, cloud, or streaks of red in the field of vision, or dark or floating spots in one or both eyes, which can indicate bleeding
- Blind or blank spots in the field of vision
Ocular and functional effects of diabetic retinopathy can include any or all of the following:
- Fluctuating vision in response to changing blood glucose levels; vision can change from day-to-day, or from morning to evening
- Blurred central vision from macular edema can interfere with reading
- Decreased visual acuity can interfere with seeing the markings on an insulin syringe or the display on a standard blood glucose monitor
- Irregular patches of vision loss or “blind spots” can make it difficult to judge the size of food portions on a plate.
- Decreased depth perception, in combination with decreased visual acuity, can make it difficult to see curbs and steps, or walk to the diabetes clinic.
Read the original article on afb.org
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