Common diabetes meds linked to serious eye problems

You'd have to be blind to think diabetes drugs couldn't be dangerous -- and if you keep taking them, you could go blind for real, too.

It's a frightening condition called diabetic macular edema, and as the name implies diabetes is already a built-in risk factor. But according to an urgent new study, you could double or triple your risk by taking a class of meds called thiazolidinediones.

If that name's not familiar, maybe these names are: Actos and Avandia. They're both thiazolidinediones, and along with increasing the risk on their own the study of 103,368 type 2 diabetics suggests that the risk shoots up even higher when you take the drugs with insulin.

And if you're diabetic, odds are insulin is never far from your life.

Diabetic macular edema is when fluid builds up inside the retina, leading to vision loss and even blindness. The only real treatment option is surgery, but it's not all that effective. Even with surgery, many patients never see right again and plenty go blind anyway.

On the other hand, if you're taking Actos -- or, God help you, if you're somehow still on Avandia -- blurry vision and the very real possibility of blindness are the least of your worries.

Both drugs can boost your risk of heart attack and an early death. That's what got Avandia pulled from pharmacy shelves, but at least one study has shown that Actos could be every bit as bad.

In addition, Actos has been linked repeatedly to bladder cancer -- with one recent study finding it can double the risk of the disease if taken for two years.

You might be diabetic, but you're not insane. Don't face those risks when you don't have to -- and trust me on this, you don't have to. Get your diabetes under control with proper nutrition instead and you can wave goodbye to these drugs and all their risks.