Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to as diabetes, is a systemic condition characterised by high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. Diabetes is a major public health problem as the number of people afflicted by it is fast approaching epidemic proportions in many countries around the world.
If you or your loved ones have diabetes, here are 5 important facts about diabetic eye disease that you should know:
1. Diabetes causes blindness
Diabetes causes a potentially blinding eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy often affects working-age adults and thus has huge socioeconomic implications.
Diabetic retinopathy affects the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive nerve layer lining the internal back surface of the eye. The damaged retinal blood vessels bleed or leak fluid, causing blurred or distorted vision. Scar tissues can also form in the eye, leading to retinal detachment and blindness. Increased awareness of diabetic retinopathy and a robust eye screening programme for diabetics can reduce the burden of blindness from diabetes.
In conclusion, all diabetics should be aware that diabetes can cause blindness. This blindness is potentially preventable by adopting a healthy lifestyle and by having regular eye examinations. Early detection and prompt treatment of diabetic retinopathy saves sight.