November is designated Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month and at Wolfe Eye Clinic we would like to use this month to remind those living with diabetes to take all the proactive steps you can to protect your vision.
According to the National Eye Institute, Diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness in adults—and all people with diabetes are at risk for vision loss and blindness from diabetic eye disease. With diabetes, the body can’t use or store sugar properly and damages retinal blood vessels in the eye, causing them to swell, bleed or leak fluid, distorting vision. The damage to the blood vessels causes diabetic eye disease, also known as diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in diabetic adults.
Diabetic eye disease may offer little to no symptoms in its early stages, however, symptoms may include floaters, blurred vision or double vision, or difficulty reading or doing close work which can indicate that fluid is collecting in the macula. The macula, the light-sensitive portion of the retina, can have fluid buildup called macular edema. Therefore, it’s important to take the proper precautions. Diabetics are highly recommended to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam scheduled with their ophthalmologist at least once a year.
The severity can be limited or prevented by, first, proper diabetes management. This includes close monitoring and control of blood sugars, blood pressures, and blood lipids, adding more physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight. Control of any one of these risk factors can reduce the severity of diabetic retinopathy.
Sometimes, vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy cannot be regained. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, however, even 95 percent of those with significant diabetic retinopathy can avoid substantial vision loss if they receive timely treatment.
We’re here to help. Wolfe Eye Clinic has vast experience in diagnosing and treating diabetic-related eye conditions. To learn more, for questions, or to schedule an appointment with one of our Retina Specialists, call (800) 542-7956.