Kate Cornell was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June of 2005. Since then, she has controlled diabetes through dietary changes, exercise, and, more recently, metformin. She shares her experiences and lessons learned here and on her blog, kates-sweet-success.blogspot.com, which was named as one of the top diabetes blogs for 2015 by Healthline.com.

Our vision is precious, but it can be threatened by diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy can occur with diabetes, so it’s important to have your eyes examined on a regular basis. Glaucoma and cataracts are also conditions that can occur.

According to this article, people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should have their eyes examined soon after diagnosis and every year thereafter. Those with type 1 diabetes should have their eyes examined yearly beginning when they are 10 years old.

Be sure to see an ophthalmologist, as they are specialists in medical and surgical issues with the eyes.

What is retinopathy?

The eye contains tiny blood vessels that feed the eye and nerves that send images to your retina. High blood sugars can cause these tiny blood vessels to burst, causing spots in your vision. If left untreated, it can lead to blocked vision, scar tissue, detached retina, and macular edema.

Yikes, scary stuff!

Prevention and treatment

The good news is that controlling your blood sugar to the best of your ability can help stave off these harmful conditions. Regular eye exams will also help your doctor detect these problems early.

There are procedures that can help if things get worse, like laser procedures or more invasive surgeries to fix the retina. It’s also good to know that your medical insurance will pay for yearly eye exams when you have diabetes, so lack of vision insurance is no excuse to avoid seeing an eye doctor.

Yes, it can be depressing to think about all the things that can go wrongs. But it’s important to be proactive and not stick your head in the sand. Ignoring possible complications from diabetes doesn’t do any good; instead, it will cause you harm. Your best defense against diabetic retinopathy is to work to keep your blood sugar under control and see an ophthalmologist every year.

To learn more about diabetic eye disease:

Infographic: Preventing Vision Loss from Diabetes
7 Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy You Shouldn't Ignore
Rates of Diabetic Retinopathy on the Rise