Diabetes is a prevalent condition that affects nearly 30 million Americans at this time. There is a precursor to diabetes, too. It is referred to as pre-diabetes, and it is estimated that more than 85 million Americans have this condition. Those numbers sound bleak. They demonstrate that we may still have a long way to go in understanding how to manage blood sugar, and in gaining the motivation to do so.
Eye Health as a Motivating Factor
If you need a motivating factor to manage the pre-diabetic condition and prevent full-blown diabetes, your eyesight is one of them. Of course, there is also inherent, and large, the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack, but we’ll stick with vision because that is something you want to preserve rather than avoid.
People with diabetes are at a significantly higher risk for eye diseases that could lead to blindness. The combined numbers of cases of blindness attributed to these eye diseases ultimately point to diabetes as the primary cause of blindness in adults. That is an eye-opening statistic!
Diabetes increases the risk of:
- Glaucoma, which threatens the optic nerve by placing excessive pressure on this structure. A damaged optic nerve cannot transfer light that enters the eye to the brain for interpretation.
- Diabetic retinopathy involves the blood vessels responsible for circulation to the retina. When these vessels constrict, vision diminishes.
- Cataracts are more prevalent in people with diabetes, and the accumulation of protein on the lens also seems to occur more quickly in diabetic patients.
Why Pre-diabetes is an Important Condition
Being diagnosed with Pre-diabetes means that your blood glucose is high, but not to levels that indicate diabetes – not yet. However, research suggests that nearly 80% of diabetic retinopathy cases begin in pre-diabetes. One of the early indicators of diabetes is the blurry vision. If you struggle to see clearly, add a visit to your healthcare provider for glucose testing onto you schedule as well as an eye exam.
There are steps that you can take to gain control of blood glucose, to prevent a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. A healthy diet and normal exercise routine are some of the first recommendations doctors give to people who are pre-diabetic.
We have two offices in Amarillo to serve you. Contact us to discuss diabetic eye care tailored to your needs.