Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month
November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month.
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans. More than 20 Million people have diabetes and more than 6 million don’t know it. Nearly all of those with diabetes will develop some form of retinopathy, 40% will suffer from glaucoma and 60% will get cataracts.
People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing eye diseases like:
Neovascular Glaucoma- Diabetes accounts for approximately one-third of cases of neovascular glaucoma. Neovascular glaucoma is a rare type of glaucoma that often results in visual loss. Neovascular glaucoma can occur when new blood vessels grow on the iris, closing off fluid flow in the eye and raising the eye pressure. It can be very difficult to treat, which is why those with diabetes should get their eyes examined on a regular basis.
Cataracts- A serious condition that causes the eye’s lens to cloud and interfere with normal vision. Cataracts is a condition that tends to develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes
Microvascular Cranial Nerve Palsies– Involves the small bloods vessels that affect the muscles that move the eyes. Symptoms of this condition include not being about to move the eyes in different directions, causing double vision or droopy eyelids.
Diabetic Retinopathy- A condition occurring in persons with diabetes that causes progressive damage to the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye. Diabetes interferes with the body’s ability to use and store sugar and too much sugar in the blood can cause damage to the eyes. Prolonged periods of high blood sugar can lead to the accumulation of fluid in the lens inside the key that controls eye focusing. This increased fluid causes the retinal tissue to swell and can lead to blurred vision.
Common Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Disease
- Seeing spots or dark strings (called floaters) in your field of vision
- Cloudy, wavy, blurry vision
- Empty spots in the center of your vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Frequently changing vision-sometimes day to day
- Poor color vision
- Dark areas or vision loss
How to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease
Warning signs of diabetic eye disorder are subtle and can often go undetected, which is why it’s important to schedule an eye exam with a doctor of optometry at least once a year. Special factors that put patients more at risk include:
- duration of the diabetes
- poor control of blood sugar
- lack of exercise
- family history of diabetes
Follow these tips to help prevent or slow the development of diabetic eye disease:
- Take prescribed medication as directed
- Stick to a healthy diet that includes Omega 3s, fresh fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Control high blood pressure
- Manage your blood glucose and cholesterol
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Yearly comprehensive eye exam
- Dilated eye exam
If you have diabetes, please know early detection and maintenance is important to controlling the progress of diabetic eye diseases.
Roswell Vision Source