Early Warning Signs of Diabetic Eye Disease: Don't Ignore These Symptoms
Did you know?: November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, established by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) to highlight the disease’s impact on vision as well as measures people can take to preserve their vision.
Diabetes ranks as the primary cause of new blindness among adults 18–64. With 529 million global cases in 2021, healthcare experts predict this number to skyrocket to at least 1.3 billion in 2050. The disease can have a dramatic impact on vision, putting the eye’s structures, including the retina, at risk for multiple conditions, including diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma.
To protect your vision, proper disease management is essential, including regular comprehensive eye exams, which let your ophthalmologist identify key disease characteristics at the earliest opportunity.
Key Vision Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Disease
If you have diabetes or are at risk of developing it, understanding the symptoms of a diabetic vision problem can help save your eyesight in the long run. By knowing which symptoms to look out for, you’ll know when it’s time to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with a diabetic eye specialist. When it comes to diabetic eye conditions, early diagnosis and intervention are critical. If any of these symptoms manifest, schedule a diabetic eye exam as soon as possible:
- Eye floaters in your field of vision
- Flashes of light
- Blurry vision
- Straight lines appearing wavy
- Dark areas or vision loss
- Frequently vision changes
- Poor color vision
Being aware of the early signs of diabetic eye disease is only the first step. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power, and now that you know what to look for, you have the power to protect your vision health. Being proactive and scheduling an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam as soon as you start experiencing symptoms like those listed above make it possible for you to get diagnosed early on.
However, if you’re already diagnosed with diabetes, it’s strongly recommended that you schedule a diabetic eye exam regularly whether you’re experiencing any vision issues or not. Many diabetic eye diseases don’t have symptoms early on, making vigilance crucial. For patients with type 1 diabetes, you should have an exam within five years of being diagnosed; patients with type 2 diabetes should get examined immediately after being diagnosed.
The Importance of Diabetes Management
In addition to getting your vision checked by a diabetic eye specialist, proper diabetes management is also an integral part of preventing or slowing the progression of diabetic eye diseases. These measures include:
- Taking all diabetes medications, including insulin, as prescribed by your healthcare provider
- Checking your blood sugar levels regularly
- Consuming diabetes-friendly foods, such as fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and berries
- Avoiding foods that are highly processed, white carbohydrates, high in added sugars, or high in saturated or trans fats
- Employing an eating schedule that can potentially improve insulin sensitivity
- Getting regular exercise from moderate-intensity physical activity
- Managing other conditions, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol
Protect Your Vision Against Diabetic Eye Disease
If you have diabetes or are at risk of developing it, it’s crucial to be knowledgeable about how the disease can impact your vision. If you notice any symptoms, schedule an exam with a diabetic eye specialist right away. For a thorough, dilated diabetic eye exam in Northern California, contact Retinal Medical Group Consultants today. Your vision matters, and we're here to help.