Retinopathy, "disease of the retina", can develop when blood
vessels supplying blood to the retina (back of the eye) are damaged. High
blood sugar levels for long periods of time cause these tiny vessels to weaken
and leak fluid. It's important to have your eyes checked regularly
Diabetic retinopathy is the number one cause of blindness in
the United States.
Retinopathy can't be felt in its early stages; only your
health professional can detect evidence of changes in the blood vessels.
Early detection is key to slowing or preventing retinopathy.
In addition, glaucoma (high pressure within the eye) and
cataracts (sugar buildup in the lens) also occur more often in people with
diabetes. Again, early detection is key to successful treatment.
Maintaining control of blood sugar levels can significantly
reduce your risk of eye disease. You can help prevent your vision from
becoming impaired by:
Keeping blood sugar levels in your target range, as near to
normal levels as possible.
Keeping your blood pressure at recommended levels (under
Having a yearly eye exam from an ophthalmologist, a medical
doctor who is qualified to diagnose and treat eye problems.
Promptly going to an ophthalmologist whenever any eye problems
are noticed, such as floaters, blurred or distorted vision, trouble reading
books or traffic signs, persistent redness, or pressure or pain in the eyes.
Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc.. : Eli Lilly and Company, 2002.