Type 2 diabetes means a person’s pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. Over time, rising blood sugar levels can pose serious health risks such as heart disease and strokes. Poorly managed diabetes could also cause kidney failure, nerve damage and foot ulcers. There is another body part which also may be affected and could have devastating effects on one’s quality of life. What is it?
Diabetic retinopathy describes what happens when high blood sugar levels damage the back of the eye (retina).
It is complicated by diabetes that affects the eyes. It’s caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.
At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems.
Over time, however, it could cause blindness.
The longer a person has type 2 diabetes and the less controlled their blood sugar is, the more likely they are to develop this eye complication.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of retinopathy include spots or dark strings floating in your vision, blurred vision, fluctuating vision, impaired colour vision, dark or empty areas in your vision and vision loss.
The NHS said: “Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye.
It can cause blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated. However, it usually takes several years for diabetic retinopathy to reach a stage where it could threaten your sight.
To minimise the risk of this happening, people with type 2 diabetes should ensure they control their blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol and attend diabetic eye screening appointments.
Annual screening is offered to all people with diabetes aged 12 and over to pick up and treat any problems early on.”
Those who have had diabetes for a long time, have a persistently high blood sugar level, have high cholesterol, or are pregnant are more prone to developing diabetic retinopathy.
It’s strongly advised to contact your GP if you experience worsening vision or sudden vision loss.
One should reduce the risk of developing retinopathy by controlling blood sugar, taking diabetes medication, attending screening appointments and following a healthy diet.
Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and aiming for at least 150 minutes a week of exercise will help reduce one’s diabetes risk.
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