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Diabetic Eye Health Awareness Month

November is the official Diabetic Eye Health Awareness Month.

At My Eye Care, we are seriously observing this month and encourage all people with diabetes to have their annual eye exams. You may not know it, but you could be at risk for blindness from diabetes.

Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye-related problems that affect people who have diabetes, and it is one of the complications of the disease. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you are at risk of blindness or vision loss.
Unfortunately, the disease doesn’t have warning signs, and the only protection you can have against it is early detection. This will help with timely treatment, and reduce the risks.

Having an annual and comprehensive dilated eye exam is the best and cheapest way of ensuring that early signs of diabetic eye disease are detected. You should take your diabetic medication as prescribed, stay physically active, maintain a healthy diet and healthy weight to keep yourself in check at all times.

How Can Diabetes Affect Your Eyes?

There are a cluster of different eye conditions that can be the result of diabetes:

  • Diabetic retinopathy – a condition that causes the blood vessels in the retina to get damaged.
  • Cataract – clouding on the lens of the eye.
  • Glaucoma – this is an increase of fluid pressure in the eye, which leads to optic nerve damage and eventual loss of vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy

This is the most common eye disease associated with diabetes, and the longer you have the disease, the more likely retinopathy will develop.

However, the good news is that this is a treatable condition, which reduces the risk of blindness by about 90%, if it is detected early. Laser treatments are currently successful with the treatment and have been used for decades.

The most recent medications under development will significantly improve this condition, but early detection and treatment have the best success rates with all conditions.
According to the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), when you control the blood sugar levels, you will slow down the progression of retinopathy.

However, it is a good idea to have your annual and comprehensive eye exam even if you are not currently suffering from diabetes, especially if you have been experiencing some visual problems.

According to the statistics, more than 29 million Americans currently have diabetes. Of this number, about ten million are unaware that they have diabetes, putting them at significant risk of losing their vision.

Cataracts, Diabetic Retinopathy, and glaucoma affect people with diabetes at one time or the other, and 5.3 million Americans have been diagnosed with Diabetic retinopathy already.

Keeping your blood sugar under strict control will help decrease the risk for most of these conditions associated with diabetic eye disease. People with diabetes should also try to control their blood pressure levels to control the further risk of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy.

If you have diabetes, please get in touch with us now for a complete annual eye exam.