A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car, especially at night, or see the expression on a friend’s face.
The most common reason people develop cataracts is aging. Proteins and fibers in the lens break down and cause vision to become blurry and hazy. They can also be caused by previous eye surgeries, genetic disorders, diabetes, and long-term use of steroids.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be at risk of losing your vision since your body does not utilize sugar properly and, when the sugar levels rise, damage to the retinal blood vessels may occur. The longer you have diabetes, the greater the chances you will develop diabetic eye disease. People with non-insulin-dependent diabetes should see their eye doctor soon after being diagnosed with diabetes. Oftentimes, these people have had diabetes for a long time and never knew it.
Risk Factors for Diabetic Eye Disease
High blood pressure and poor control of blood sugar levels can increase your risk of blindness. Both are associated with the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy or cataracts. It’s always vital that you keep your diabetes in good control and follow your doctor’s advice in treating your high blood pressure.
People who are of Hispanic, African American, and Native-American descent are more likely to develop diabetes. African Americans are also five times more likely to develop glaucoma. Talk to family members and find out who in your family has diabetes and suffers from diabetic eye disease. At your next doctor’s appointment, share your family’s medical eye history.
Pregnant women with diabetes should see their eye doctor during their pregnancy due to an increased risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.