Did you know diabetes is the single most prevalent cause of blindness in Canada? The Canadian Diabetes Association warns that if you have diabetes, you’re more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy (serious changes to the retina). You are also more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age, and twice as likely to develop glaucoma.
Since the early stages of diabetes show few symptoms, regular eye exams are a must. To help avoid blindness, be sure to see an eye health professional today!
Let me tell you about a woman who is happy she did just that. Victoria is a 44-year old mother of four who lives in Senya Breku, a coastal town in the Central region of Ghana. Victoria supported her family as a fishmonger until she started losing her sight three years ago. Last year, her vision got worse, and she became unable to work.
“Because of my poor sight, I could not continue to work, so life was very difficult. I could not pay the rent in the house where we lived and we were evicted. Our children were sent away from school because we could not afford the school fees,” she explains. “We visited several prayer camps and witch finders because it was difficult to understand what was happening to us. I thought I would be blind forever.”
Fortunately, Victoria talked to a neighbour who had been blind with cataracts, before visiting nearby Watborg Eye Hospital and regaining sight. She courageously decided to visit the hospital, where doctors discovered the root cause of her blindness was diabetes mellitus, or “sugar disease,” as she calls it.
“I was told I got cataracts because I have sugar disease. The interesting thing is that as a result of my cataract, they discovered my sugar disease,” she says, smiling.
Victoria started treatment for diabetes, and bilateral cataract surgery was performed on first one, then both her eyes. She was able to use government health insurance for her first surgery, and a donation from a generous Operation Eyesight donor paid for the other. She is thankful that she could start up her business again, and her children are back in school!
“Now I can see, and I feel better because I am under treatment for my sugar disease. I feel good and we are happy. Now I can support my family and not depend on people,” she says. “I would like to say thank you for saving my sight and my life. Indeed, sight is life!”
If you have any of these warning signs, the Canadian Diabetes Association recommends you have an eye health professional check your eyes.
- blurred vision
- flashes of light in the field of vision
- sudden loss of vision
- blotches or spots in vision