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‘People are eating themselves blind’, doctors warn of sugar’s impact on eye health

‘People are eating themselves blind’, doctors warn of sugar’s impact on eye health

Eye specialists are warning people of the impact sugar consumption is having on our vision. 

‘People are eating themselves blind’, doctors warn of sugar’s impact on eye health

In the lead up to World Diabetes Day on 14 November, the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO) is urging people to reduce their sugar intake to avoid going blind.

“People are eating themselves blind.  Of all the consequences of eating too much sugar, blindness is probably the one that least springs to mind… yet it is one of the most debilitating,” says ASO spokesperson Dr James Muecke.

According to the ASO, diabetes-related eye disease is the leading cause of blindness among working adults in Australia. The longer people suffer from diabetes, the more likely damage to the retina will develop.

With nearly one in ten Australians impacted by diabetes and nearly one-third of Australian children considered overweight or obese, diabetes prevention through diet is of the utmost importance.

“Our sugar-laden diet is responsible for more disease and death than inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined,” Dr Muecke says.

The ASO says diabetes-related blindness is not only treatable, but preventable.

”Minimising your intake of sugar and highly processed foods, which also helps to control your blood pressure, can dramatically reduce the risk of developing diabetes-related blindness or slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy once established,” explains Dr Muecke.

Dr Muecke says regular eye checks are also vital for people who suffer from diabetes.

“Well over half of the 1.7 million people with diabetes in Australia aren’t have their sight-saving eye checks,” he says.  “A regular test with an eye health professional can help detect diabetes-related eye disease in its infancy and make treatment less invasive and much more successful.”

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