Myopia and hyperopia aren’t the only reasons to visit your Indiana optometrist anymore; eye diseases are seeing a rise in cases due to the increase in diabetes. According to Fox News, non-refractive visual impairments (vision problems not solved with eyeglasses) rose 21% in adults over 20. The risk factor for non-refractive visual impairments grew by .73 in the same amount of time (2005 to 2008).
The most common causes of non-refractive visual impairment in the US are age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and other retinal disorders. Diabetic retinopathy affects both Type I and Type II diabetes and is caused by damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. Although a .3% increase in ages 20 and under doesn’t seem substantial, that is an increase of almost 700,000 diabetes cases. Already 25.8 million adults and children in the US have diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy isn’t the only risk of diabetes. Cataracts and glaucoma risks are increased. Because these diseases are usually don’t occur until 10 years post diagnosis, it is difficult to test correlations. However, Type II diabetes is being diagnoses in children, which leaves them to contract these illnesses earlier in life.
The researchers said, “Blindness and visual impairment are associated with increased medical care expenditure, decreased work productivity, and decreased quality-adjusted life years. If they current finding becomes a persisting trend, it could result in increasing rates of disability in the US population.”
If you are concerned about your likelihood of any visual diseases related to diabetes, visit your optometrist as soon as possible. These diseases caused by Type II diabetes are 100% preventable.