If you didn’t already know, November is known as Diabetic Eye Disease Month. It is a great time of the year for healthcare professionals to share important information about this disease and how diabetes can affect an individual’s eyesight. Unfortunately, millions of Americans across the country suffer from diabetic eye disease, due to high blood sugar levels that damage important blood vessels in the eye
Although diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, many people remain unaware of their risk levels or don’t experience any symptoms. Thankfully, early intervention and treatment can do a lot to prevent blindness and other eye complications that result from diabetes. Here at Diabetic Eye Medical Clinic, our team uses the latest technology and patient-centered care to help people retain or regain their eyesight.
Understanding Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease comprises various eye concerns that those with diabetes may experience during their lifetime. This group of eye conditions can come about when damaged blood vessels in the eye cause leaking or bleeding in the retina. All types of diabetic eye disease can cause significant loss of vision or blindness if not treated properly.
Here are some of the complications of diabetic eye disease:
- Diabetic Retinopathy: Occurs when blood vessels in the retina become damaged. This is the most common reason diabetic individuals experience vision loss and the leading cause of both vision impairment and blindness among adults.
- Diabetic Macular Edema (DME): A form of swelling in the retina that specifically occurs in the macular region.
- Cataracts: Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to become cloudy. Unfortunately, people with diabetes are much more likely to develop cataracts.
- Glaucoma: Occurs when damage hits the eye’s optic nerve. Diabetes increases the risk of developing glaucoma.
We encourage all diabetic individuals to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with their doctor every single year. This is one of the best ways to catch any undetected symptoms and prevent vision loss from getting worse over time.
How to Participate in Diabetic Eye Disease Month
There are many great ways to observe diabetic eye disease month and raise awareness around this important health concern. For starters, if you think you may have diabetes or even prediabetes, visit your doctor and get tested today.
Taking a glucose test can help provide you with a solid answer on how well your body processes sugar and insulin. Alternatively, visit your eye doctor and see if there are any symptoms or red flag that you should be worried about, especially as it relates to diabetic eye disease.
You can also encourage your friends and family to get their eyes examined, particularly those that have already been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes. Share some important statistics and remind them that getting checked out is the best way to protect their vision in the long run.
You can also focus on improving your health and that of your loved ones during this month. Take stock of any bad eating habits that may have formed over the year and try to establish some healthy ones instead. If you aren’t getting enough activity, start implementing a daily walk to get moving again.
Thankfully, over 90% of vision loss from diabetes can be prevented. Early detection is very important in this regard so be sure to visit your eye doctor for an annual exam to catch any red flags or causes for concern. Doing so is particularly important for people already diagnosed with diabetes as they are at a higher risk for developing eye complications during their lifetime.
By working together to raise awareness around this disease we can increase the rates of early detection and treatment of diabetic eye disease. Doing so can help millions of people across the country avoid damage to their vision and live a higher quality of life.