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The most common form of vision loss is diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar causes tiny blood vessels in the eye to grow and leak blood and other fluids onto the retina.
In the early stages, people may not experience any symptoms. That’s why it’s important to have an eye exam every year. Regular vision tests can detect problems early. During a yearly exam, doctors will typically check for:
Diabetics can keep blood sugar and blood pressure levels under control to minimize damage to eyesight. It also helps to take all medications as prescribed, stay active and eat healthy foods. But the best way to prevent diabetic retinopathy is a regular eye exam.
During your exam, the doctor can also test for other disorders identified by the National Eye Institute, including:
Even if you don’t have symptoms, it’s important to get your vision tested. While most diabetes-related eye problems are often minor, blindness from complications is still a major issue.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says many people with diabetes may develop “floaters” (dark spots or strings floating in your vision), blurred eyesight or less-than-perfect color vision. The ADA encourages people not to be lulled into a false sense of security. To help those at risk, they offer ways to avoid complications that can lead to blindness.
Major eye disorders linked to diabetes include:
See your eye doctor at least once a year if you have any type of diabetes and more often if your doctor advises. It’s a small price to pay to keep your eyesight.
Originally published 5/14/2018; Revised 2019, 2021, 2023
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Last Updated 10012018Y0096_WEB_MT_CONNECT19_C