By Dr. Brian McDonoughSponsored By Independence Blue Cross

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the long-term complications of diabetes is called “diabetic retinopathy.”

Diabetic retinopathy can have a dramatic impact on people’s vision.

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This is one of the reasons why we try to control blood sugar early in the course of the disease.

It is an overall effort to try to reduce the secondary impact of these conditions. But now there is a new report in the journal of the American Medical Association, Ophthalmology Edition, which finds that diabetic retinopathy is linked with a higher risk for falling.

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It makes sense that issues related to vision could increase the risk of falls.

There are two lessons to take away from this.

The first is that we should try to control diabetes early in the course of the disease.

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The second is that with this awareness we need to make sure that those who have diabetic retinopathy have homes that are safe: for instance free of throw rugs and minimizing hard surfaces.