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Diabetic Retinopathy

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 because:

  • 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 130/80).

  • 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.


Source: Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc.. : Eli Lilly and Company, 2002.

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