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The Link Between Diabetes and Your Eyes

Main St Optometry Newmarket
Published by in Eye Health · 4 February 2019
Did you know that anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can develop  diabetic retinopathy; this occurs when there is a weakening or swelling  of the tiny blood vessels in the retina of your eye, resulting in blood  leakage, the growth of new blood vessels, and other changes. According  to the Canadian Diabetes Association, retinopathy affects 23 per cent of  type 1 diabetics on insulin therapy and 14 per cent of people with type  2 diabetes.
At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild  vision problems, but eventually it can cause changes in nearsightedness,  farsightedness, and lead to blindness. Early signs of diabetic  retinopathy may include:
  • Loss of central vision
  • Blurry vision
  • Flashes of light in field of vision
  • Inability to see colours
  • Black spots or holes in vision
The  less controlled one’s blood sugar is and the longer one has had  diabetes for, the more likely they are to develop diabetic retinopathy.  If your blood glucose level (blood sugar) is too high for too long, it  blocks off the small blood vessels that keep the retina healthy.
As many as one million Canadians are living with undiagnosed  diabetes. Many assume that a visit to a general practitioner is the only  way to diagnose diabetes; however, a comprehensive eye exam by an  optometrist can lead to early detection of diabetes, reduce the risk of  vision loss, and minimize the risk of other life threatening  complications such as heart disease and kidney failure.
Optometrists can often see indicators of diabetes in the eyes before  the disease is formally diagnosed. To learn more about the impact that  diabetes may have on your eye, book regular appointments with a local doctor of optometry.
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    Over  the course of the next nine years, 6.4 million Canadians will be  diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. What’s more, one third of  Canadians today already have diabetes or prediabetes and many don’t know  it.
The  current number of people living with diabetes in Canada is  approximately 3.3 million. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of  the disease, accounting for 90% of cases.
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