Diabetes can cause a number of eye problems, but diabetic retinopathy is the most common, and it can lead to vision loss or even blindness. In fact, diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of new cases of blindness in working-age U.S. adults. Diabetic Retinopathy is the leading cause of new cases of legal blindness among working–age Americans.
More than 2 in 5 adults diagnosed with diabetes in the United States have diabetic retinopathy. Anyone with any type of diabetes is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and its complications like diabetic macular edema—and the risk increases the longer you have diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs inside our eyes and may not show symptoms until its later stages—but even though we can’t see it, there is something we can do about it. If you have diabetes, it’s very important to get your eyes checked at least once annually by an eye care professional, even if your vision seems normal. Being examined by an eye doctor is the only way to determine if you have diabetic retinopathy. It’s also the only way to monitor diabetic retinopathy progression after you’ve been diagnosed.
There’s a good possibility that diabetic retinopathy can progress even if you’re managing your blood sugar levels, that’s why it’s important to go to visit your eye care specialist routinely. By performing some tests, a retina specialist can find out what’s happening inside your eyes and, if needed, suggest actions that can be taken.