Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, about 29 million Americans, 20 or older have diabetes and almost one-third does not even know they have the disease and are at risk for losing their vision.
Early symptoms of diabetes can often go undetected and vision may not be affected until the disease is more severe and even harder to treat. Some symptoms that are usually quick to detect include:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Weight loss/weight gain
- Increased hunger
- Lack of focus
- Numbness in the hands or feet
A group of eye problems can arise due to diabetes. Cataracts and glaucoma are only a couple of vision stealing side effects. If you have diabetes you may get cataracts at a younger age, and your chances of developing glaucoma doubles.
Early diagnosis of diabetes and maintaining a strict control of blood sugar and hypertension through a balanced diet, exercise and medication can help reduce your risk of developing eye disease that is associated with diabetes. Eye doctors are often the first to detect diabetes, so setting up annual appointments with your doctor can be life saving.