LONG-TERM DIABETES COMPLICATIONSThese are the complications of diabetes that don’t occur overnight. They are serious, and some of them are life-threatening.They begin to show up five or more years after the initial diagnosis of diabetes. If and when they develop may be related to chance, to heredity and to whether or not a person has maintained good control of his or her diabetes.
Eye problemsPeople with diabetes are at risk for eye problems. In fact, in the United States diabetes is the leading cause of adult blindness.In the past, most persons with diabetes who have had the disease for five to ten years showed some signs of eye damage. The most significant eye problems are diabetic cataracts and diabetic retinopathy.
CataractsMany older people suffer from cataracts. Even more older people with diabetes have them.There seems to be a relationship between cataract development, aging and increased blood glucose levels.Regular eye examinations by a qualified eye specialist (ophthalmologist) are a must for a person with diabetes. These examinations can detect the early signs of cataract development, as well as other diabetes-related eye problems.Keeping blood glucose levels within the normal range seems to slow the development of premature cataracts in people with diabetes. If they develop, the eye specialist now has a variety of treatment options available.One of these options is the surgical removal of the lens clouded by the cataract (with the wearing of eyeglasses or contacts following surgery). Another is the implantation of an artificial lens after removal of the diseased lens.The early warning signs of cataracts are:• Blurred vision, particularly at night• Halos around bright lights• Loss of side vision*49/210/5*