According to a recent study conducted in 2018, more than four cans of diet soda (fizzy drink) per week can lead to a condition known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. The NHS describes the condition as “caused by high blood sugar levels that damage the back of the eye”.
If left undiagnosed and untreated, the disease can lead to permanent blindness; something that can be avoided if people with diabetes take precautions.
This includes making sure your blood sugar and cholesterol levels are at healthy levels and attending diabetic eye screening appointments, which are usually offered to diabetics over the age of 12.
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How does diabetes affect the eyes?
The area that diabetic retinopathy specifically affects is a part of the eye known as the retina, the part of the eye that receives and organizes visual information.
The signals received by the retina are then sent to the brain, which converts them into the images that people see.
To function properly, the retina needs a constant supply of blood; Constantly high blood sugar can damage the vessels that distribute that blood.
Diabetic neuropathy has three distinct stages. Of these, proliferative retinopathy is the final stage; is when scar tissue and new blood vessels develop in the retina and cause vision loss.
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What are the other stages?
The other stages are background retinopathy and preproliferative retinopathy. In the first, the NHS said: “Small bumps develop on the blood vessels, which may bleed slightly, but usually do not affect your vision.”
Meanwhile, during preproliferative retinopathy the changes are more severe and there is significant bleeding in the eye.
Although these symptoms and experiences may seem disturbing, proliferative retinopathy can be prevented through several means.
As well as monitoring your blood sugar levels, the NHS also recommends:
• Eat a healthy and balanced diet
• Lose weight in case of overweight
• Regular exercise
• Stop smoking
• Do not exceed the blood alcohol limit.
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Is diabetic retinopathy something to worry about?
Diabetic retinopathy is only something to worry about if someone is diabetic. However, it is good practice to do what you can to preserve your eyesight.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in the United States offers several tips for preserving your eyesight.
In addition to maintaining blood sugar levels, they also recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
In addition to a balanced diet, the use of protective glasses during certain sports can help, since the impact of a ball or other hard object on the eye can cause serious damage.
In addition, they also recommend that people examine their own family history to find out whether or not there are any vision-related problems that run in the family.
Apart from these tips, it is important to get an annual eye test, especially if vision problems start to arise.
In addition to detecting any damage to the eye, these exams can also detect early signs of other, more malignant conditions.
If these malicious medicinal presences are detected early, treatment will be much easier than if they are detected later.
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