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Diabetes & The Eye

Diabetes mellitus affects more than 10 million Americans and is the most common cause of blindness in people younger than 65 years.

In addition to being a leading cause of blindness, diabetic eye disease encompasses a wide range of problems that can affect the eyes.

An estimated 41 million people in the United States (40% of adults aged 40-74 years) have "pre-diabetes," a condition that significantly increases their risk for developing diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus may cause a temporary blurring of vision, or it can cause a severe, permanent loss of vision. People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma.

Diabetes mellitus may not cause symptoms until the disease is more advanced. Vision blurring can be one of the first symptoms. Severe diabetic eye disease most commonly develops in people who have had diabetes mellitus for many years, but who have had little or poor control of their blood sugars over that period of time.

Diabetes mellitus may also result in heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, neurological problems, and circulatory abnormalities of the legs.

Once diabetes mellitus is diagnosed, it is recommended that you see your ophthalmologist for annual dilated retina examinations.

The problems associated with diabetes mellitus can be minimized by not smoking and by maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes weight control, diet, and exercise.