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Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, and it may be one of
the most important awareness months when it comes to eye diseases. Many
people do not realize that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness
in adults ages 20 to 64, so generating awareness of the eye condition
is extremely important.November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month,
and it may be one of the most important awareness months when it comes
to eye diseases. Many people do not realize that diabetes is the leading
cause of blindness in adults ages 20 to 64, so generating awareness of
the eye condition is extremely important.November is Diabetic Eye Disease
Awareness Month, and it may be one of the most important awareness months
when it comes to eye diseases. Many people do not realize that diabetes
is the leading cause of blindness in adults ages 20 to 64, so generating
awareness of the eye condition is extremely important.

Diabetes affects nearly 30 million Americans, and the National Eye Institute
estimates that 40 to 45 percent (12 to 13.5 million) Americans living
with diabetes have some form of diabetic eye disease.

What is diabetic eye disease?

There are several eye conditions that can affect someone living with diabetes,
including
diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. People with diabetes are 40 percent more likely
to develop glaucoma and 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts than
people without diabetes. The longer you have lived with diabetes, the
greater your risk of developing diabetic eye disease.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common of these conditions, affecting
approximately 5.3 million Americans age 18 and older who have diabetes.
Statistics suggest that nearly every individual with type 1 diabetes will
eventually have non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (blockage of blood
vessels in the eye), while most people with type 2 diabetes will also
eventually suffer from non-proliferative diabetes. It is proliferative
diabetes (the growth of new, delicate vessels in the eye), that is most
likely to cause vision loss, and this type of diabetic eye disease is
less common.

Diabetic retinopathy can also be one of the most dangerous eye conditions
associated with diabetes. High blood glucose levels can cause the tiny
blood vessels in the back of the eye to swell, leak or become blocked,
cutting off nourishment to the retina. If blood flow to the retina is
lost, it can result in vision loss. In some cases, the body responds by
signaling the production of more blood vessels. Unfortunately, these new
blood vessels are fragile and more prone to leaking, which may also cause
permanent damage and even blindness.

What are the symptoms of diabetic eye disease?

Diabetics can live with a diabetic eye disease for a long time before noticing
any changes in vision or symptoms. Typically, noticeable symptoms do not
appear until significant damage to the eye has occurred.

In
this video about common diabetic eye problems, Dr. Whitman explains that symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can range
from minor symptoms such as fluctuation of vision (related to fluctuation
of blood glucose levels) to severe symptoms such as bleeding in the back
of the eye. At other times, there may be no symptoms at all.

Treating diabetic eye disease

Early diagnosis of diabetes significantly reduces your risk of developing
cataracts, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy due to your diabetes. Because
symptoms of diabetic eye disease do not typically present until the condition
is severe, it is crucial that you receive a dilated comprehensive eye
exams every year if you are a diabetic. Early detection of diabetic eye
disease and treatment may save your vision.

Treatment options depend on the type of diabetic eye disease you have,
but include surgical procedures to stop the progression of the disease.
If it has been more than a year since your last eye exam,
contact Key-Whitman to schedule a comprehensive eye exam today.

Posted in: Diabetes, Eye Conditions, Eye Health

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