Diabetes is becoming an epidmeic in the United States. Nearly 19 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Many more are unaware they have the disease. Diabetes can lead to glaucoma, cataract and retinopathy. Retinopathy are the changes in the delicate blood vessesl in the back of the eye that lead to leaking of blood and other fluids causing vision loss. In 2005-2008, 4.2 million (28.5%) people with diabetes aged 40 years or older had diabetic retinopathy, and of these, almost 0.7 million (4.4% of those with diabetes) had advanced diabetic retinopathy that could lead to severe vision loss. The most common form of diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy, a disorder caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. Nearly half of all people with diabetes will develop some degree of diabetic eye disease.
You can protect your vision by controlling your diabetes and having annual dilated eye examinations including retinal photography and optical coherence tomography. OCT(high definition imaging) is the earliest way to diagnosis diabetic macular edema. If diagnosed in the early stages macular edema and retinopathy can treated to prevent vision loss. By the time the patient is aware of their vision loss, it may be too late for treatment.
To learn more or receive additional free information about preventing and living with diabetes call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES or visit www.diabetes.org.
Other valuable and important information about diabetic eye disease can be found at the Nationa Eye Health Institute site http://www.nei.nih.gov/diabetes/ and Prevent Blindess America http://www.preventblindness.org/diabetes-and-your-eyes