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Home » News » Know the Risks and Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Disease

Know the Risks and Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Disease


We all know why we need to wear sunglasses and sunscreen in the summer. Winter, however, can be deceiving. It's an illusion to assume that we are safe from sunburns during the colder season.

Snow acts as a powerful mirror for sunlight and magnifies the effects of UV rays which would otherwise be absorbed by the ground. As a result, the eyes are exposed to both the UV radiation bouncing back from the snowy carpet and the rays shining down directly from the sun.

If your family is skiing or snowboarding up in the mountains, you need to be even more careful! UV rays are more powerful at higher altitudes. Another important factor to remember is that ultraviolet radiation penetrates through clouds, so even if the sun is hidden behind them, it can still damage your eyes.

Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses that absorb at least 95% of ultraviolet radiation when you go outside, no matter what time of year it is. Even though you want to look great in your shades, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Make sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers - UV400. The good news is you don't necessarily have to pay more for full coverage for your eyes. Dozens of reasonably priced options exist that still provide total ultraviolet protection.

Another important factor in selecting sun wear is the size of the lenses. You want to make sure your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also prevent UV waves from entering from the sides.

If you like to ski or frolic in the snowy hills, you should be aware that the sun's rays are stronger at higher elevations, so you need to be especially careful to keep your eyes shaded on the slopes. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to put on a wide brimmed hat that covers your eyes.

Make a point to be knowledgeable about proper eye protection throughout the year. Don't forget to wear your sunglasses.

Unfortunately, diabetes is all too common. So many people aren't aware of how just much it can affect patients. For example, diabetes can easily lead to developing a number of eye-related diseases. These conditions include cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, as well as a number of other conditions that, even though they may be seemingly unrelated to your sight, may effect the health of the eye, and your vision.

Diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when high blood glucose levels cause damage to the network of blood vessels in the retina. It's also a very common cause of blindness in adults.

Even though cataracts, which lead to the loss of vision, and are a common part of old age, a lot of people aren't aware that diabetes patients are likely to develop these at an younger age.

People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma, sometimes referred to as the silent thief of sight, which is can lead to vision impairment. This condition forms due to a build-up of pressure in the eye, leading to optic nerve damage and vision loss.

All individuals with diabetes - whether it is type 1 or type 2 - are at increased chance of developing diabetic eye disease, even more so if their diabetes isn't adequately controlled. Additional risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor diet and exercise, and smoking.

Due to the nature of the condition, symptoms of diabetic eye diseases generally shift when blood sugar levels do, and may include:

  • Blurry or distorted vision which is subject to fluctuation
  • Blind spots or floaters
  • Double vision
  • Eye Pain
  • Scotoma
  • Problems with near vision
  • Corneal abrasions

Unfortunately, these symptoms are more than warning signs. The onset of diabetic eye disease can actually occur before its symptoms do.

Detecting the condition before these symptoms surface can make a big difference when it comes to preventing serious loss of vision. With this is mind, it is strongly advised that diabetes sufferers have a yearly eye exam to monitor the health of their eyes. If you or a loved one have diabetes, it's so important to make sure you know about how to avoid diabetic eye disease. Annual eye exams, and proper preventative measures, can make the difference between a world of sight and a world of darkness.