The diabetes epidemic in the United States continues to have a serious impact on health, especially on vision. Today, it is estimated that more than 25 million Americans have diabetes and 79 million adults aged 20 and older have prediabetes. According to the 2012 Vision Problems in the U.S. report from Prevent Blindness America and the National Eye Institute, more than 7.6 million people ages 40 and older have diabetic retinopathy, an 89 percent increase from 10 years ago. Additionally, people with diabetes are at greater risk for other eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataract.
Diabetes, the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults 20-74 years old, is becoming an epidemic, in fact, 17.6 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Of these people, one-third are unaware that they have the disease.
With a dilated, comprehensive eye examination, early detection and diagnosis of diabetes and diabetic eye disease can start you on the road to treatment for the disease and preservation of vision. Smoke Vision Care reminds you to consider having a comprehensive eye examination as part of Prevent Blindness America’s nationally recognized Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month this November. This coincides with the National Diabetic Awareness Month hosted by the American Diabetes Association.
“Through a comprehensive dilated eye exam, we can look inside the eye and examine blood vessels directly, detecting signs and symptoms of vascular diseases such as diabetes and hypertension,” said Dr. Smoke. “We’relooking at the retina for early signs of diabetic retinopathy, such as leaking blood vessels, retinal swelling (macular edema) and deposits on the retina – all of which are signs of leaking or damaged blood vessels.” The earlier these changes are detected the more likely that we can help our patients preserve their vision.
Undiagnosed, diabetes can result in vision impairment, a frequent complication of both Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes, and blindness. Other vision problems caused by diabetes include: vision changes, glaucoma, cataracts and retinopathy.
Part of living with diabetes and maintaining good vision is having a dilated eye examination on at least an annual basis – more often if you have existing eye issues or more serious retinopathy. Certainly, if you experience any change in vision, you should immediately see your optometrist.
To learn more and receive free materials to assess your risk for diabetes, basic diabetes facts and a detailed explanation of diabetic retinopathy visit the National Eye Health Institute comprehensive education page Additional information is available from the American Diabetes Association .