If you have diabetes, you will most likely have NO signs before you go blind. Symptoms don’t usually start until very late in the disease. By then, the damage is already done. For example, your eyes might feel fine going to bed one night. The next morning, you can’t see out of your left eye. This can happen with diabetic eye disease.

This is why it is very important to get your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. This is the only way for people with diabetes to find out if they have eye damage before it is too late. Early warning by the eye doctor can give you a chance to do something about it before it causes permanent vision loss.

More than 60% of people with diabetes have eye disease. It can cause people to permanently lose part or all of their vision. Diabetic eye diseases include:

  • diabetic retinopathy
  • proliferative diabetic retinopathy
  • diabetic macular edema

Eye damage from these diseases causes few early warning symptoms. To compare, when you get a lung infection, such as pneumonia, you know something is wrong. You have symptoms like a cough and fever. With diabetic eye disease, your eye will not have anything obviously wrong on the outside. Sadly, by the time you notice that your vision is worse, it is usually too late. Some or all of this vision loss can’t be fixed.

One of the first symptoms that you may get are “floaters”. These are little black dots that float across your vision. You may also notice that you are missing parts of your vision. For example, you can’t see anything to the left or you can only see grey out of one eye. Blurry vision is another sign, especially in the middle part of your vision. This might make it hard to read books or recognize friends’ faces.

Eye doctors can look in the back of your eye to see early signs of disease. This is why it is critical to get your eyes checked at least once a year if you have diabetes. The earlier a doctor sees the problem, the sooner you can do something about it. Good control of your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels can all help prevent or slow down diabetic eye disease. If you catch it early, there are steps you can take to keep it from getting worse and losing your eyesight.

Make an eye check-up date, don’t wait till it’s too late!