According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness in people under the age of 65 with diabetes. Retinopathy is a long-term complication of diabetes in which the vessels of the eye are damaged. These vessels are located in the retina, the area of the eye that receives images.
How do I know if I have retinopathy?
Some symptoms may include: Blurred vision, flashes of light, sudden loss of vision and blotches or spots in vision.
However, retinopathy can go undetected for many years because it can be asymptomatic until its advanced stages. Therefore, it is very important to plan for yearly or more frequent complete (dilated eye) examinations by the ophthalmologist.
What can I do to prevent retinopathy?
Optimal blood sugar control is key to decreasing the risk of eye problems. Diet and exercise also play an important role. However, please check with your doctor before starting any type of vigorous exercise. The increased blood pressure associated with exercise may aggravate diabetic retinopathy.