Diabetes affects over 30 million Americans, or 9.4 percent of the population, and the number of diagnoses are rising at an alarming rate. Diabetes is a metabolic condition in the body that results from lack of insulin in the blood, or because the insulin available isn’t working effectively. This chronic disease can negatively affect every part of the body, including the eyes. According to the American Foundation for the Blind, in 2009, 3.8 million adults with diabetes, ages 18 years or older, reported visual impairment, that is, trouble seeing even while wearing glasses or contact lenses.
How does diabetes affect vision?
When the blood glucose, or blood sugar, is too high, it changes fluid levels, building pressure and causing swelling in the eyes’ tissues. Once glucose levels normalize, so should the vision. However, if the blood glucose levels remain high over a long period of time, then it can progress into diabetic eye disease. These conditions include glaucoma, cataract, diabetic macula edema, and diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and is a leading cause of vision-loss globally.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
According to a study, published by Eye Vis journal in 2015, an estimated 285 million people have diabetes worldwide, and approximately one third have signs of diabetic retinopathy. In America alone, between 40 and 45 percent of those diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy, although only about half are aware of it. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the tiny blood vessels in the retina—the light-sensitive tissue where images are formed—become blocked and leak. Blood then seeps into the eyes, causing vision problems.
What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?
Usually in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy there are no, or very mild, warning signs, but as the disease progresses, so do the symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Spots or dark strings floating in your vision (floaters)
- A loss of central vision when reading or driving
- Inability to see colors
- Blurry or hazy vision
- Trouble seeing at night
- Dark or empty areas of vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Vision loss
Are there risk factors involved?
Those who are diabetic are susceptible to diabetic retinopathy, but the risk of developing the eye disease can increase as a result of:
- Length of diabetic history (The longer you have diabetes, the greater the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy)
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Poor control of glucose levels
Can diabetic retinopathy be treated?
As more people live longer with diabetes, there is a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and subsequent vision loss, but if detected early enough, then the risk of blindness is reduced by 95 percent. Because an eye doctor can diagnose the initial stages of the disease, it’s imperative for those who are diabetic to regularly get eye examinations. Conventional treatments for diabetic retinopathy include steroid or Anti-VEGF injections—shots directly administered into the eyes to reduce inflammation. These treatments can lessen the swelling but can also evoke serious side effects.
Can diabetic retinopathy be treated naturally?
According to a study, published by the National Eye Institute, the progression of diabetic retinopathy was significantly lessened among diabetics who underwent intensive glycemic control. Maintaining tight control over blood sugar levels produced a long-lasting effect on the small blood vessels. To gain these results, keep the glucose levels within in target range by eating nutrient-rich foods and exercising. Supplements, such as folic acid and vitamin B12, are beneficial for those with vitamin deficiencies. Also, be diligent to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check. Traditional Chinese medicines, such as gingko biloba extract, naturally fight inflammation and promote brain function.
Let’s take an aggressive approach to this rising epidemic by eating healthy, exercising, and regularly scheduling eye exams.
To learn more about how to relieve symptoms of diabetes naturally, click here…