DIABETIC EYE DISEASE MONTH
The vision experts at King LASIK want to remind our followers that November is National Diabetic Eye Disease Month. Throughout the month, ophthalmologists around the nation want to raise awareness about diabetic eye disease, early disease detection and related preventive health services. Diabetics are more susceptible to developing eye diseases and experiencing vision loss (as well as other medical conditions affecting the rest of the body). According to the National Eye Institute, about 10.2 million Americans over the age of 40 have diabetes, which is the body’s inability to control its blood sugar.
Increased Risk of Developing Vision Problems
People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing vision-robbing eye diseases than people that don’t have diabetes. Diabetics are two to five times more likely than non-diabetics to develop cataracts (a clouding of the eye lens). Diabetes is also a risk factor for glaucoma, a disease that affects the eye’s optic nerve (connecting the eye to the brain).
However, the most widespread vision problem amongst people with diabetes is a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy is characterized by damage to the blood vessels in the retina. In some people, these tiny blood vessels swell or leak fluid; others develop irregular blood vessels on the surface of the retina. All of these abnormalities can lead to vision loss and blindness. Diabetic macular edema is a related complication in which an area of the retina (known as the macula) swells.
The National Eye Institute estimates that 40 to 50 percent of people with diabetes have some form of diabetic retinopathy. Generally, the longer someone has diabetes, the higher their chances of developing the condition. What concerns ophthalmologists about diabetic retinopathy is that there are often no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. In fact, changes in vision may not occur until the disease has progressed substantially and is less easily treated.
How to Avoid Losing Vision to a Diabetic Eye Disease
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk of eye-related complications is to control your condition. Take your medications as prescribed, follow a healthy diet and stay active with regular exercise. By controlling your diabetes, you are preventing or delaying vision loss.
Another key to lowering your risk of vision loss from diabetic eye disease is to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. During these exams, your ophthalmologist will take a very close look at your eyes, noting any irregularities. Early detection and treatment intervention can prevent loss of vision and blindness.
You should make an appointment with your ophthalmologist quickly if you experience blurred vision and/or floaters that affect only one eye or last more than a few days.
Contact King LASIK for More Information
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and want more information about maintaining your visual health, contact us to schedule a consultation or call (877) 551-2020 to speak with a member of our team.