Annual Eye Exams: an Important Part of Managing Diabetes
Who doesn’t love November? It’s is an all-around great month. It ushers in the holiday season, but it also (usually) offers up some great weather, opportunities for amazing food, get-togethers with family and friends, plenty of football games and more!
November also marks Diabetes Awareness Month and with it Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. At Center For Sight, November is also the time we shine a spotlight on this debilitating and potentially sight-stealing disease that affects more than 30 million Americans.
We are passionate about making sure our patients have all the facts they need to make good decisions about their vision health. Eye knowledge is especially important if you have diabetes.
Diabetic eye disease can occur without showing ANY symptoms. Diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of blindness among adults between the ages of 20 and 74 and, at any given time, you could develop diabetic eye disease. When blood sugar levels remain elevated over time, complications can occur in several different parts of your body, including your eyes.
Let’s talk about the most common diabetes-related eye diseases:
Diabetic retinopathy. This is the most common diabetic eye complication. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina, which is light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye. As the disease progresses, blood vessels become blocked and prevent areas of the retina from receiving vital blood and nutrients. Diabetes-related retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in American adults and it affects over one in four of those living with diabetes, while 4% have severe cases of retinopathy.
Diabetic macular edema is a common complication of diabetic retinopathy. Macular edema is caused by damaged blood vessels that swell and leak fluid into the macula (which is responsible for sharp, central vision). Over time, this abnormal swelling can lead to permanent vision loss if not identified and treated.
Other vision complications from diabetes include glaucoma and cataracts. People with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age and are twice as likely to develop glaucoma as are people who do not have diabetes. Regular eye exams, early detection and timely disease management can help protect against further vision loss.
An Annual Dilated Eye Exam Could Save Your Sight
This isn’t just us being dramatic. It’s actually true—especially if you have diabetes. A comprehensive eye exam can help detect things that a regular vision test is not able to and it can also help identify the more serious vision problems we just fleshed out above.
Another reason to prioritize an annual eye exam? Timely intervention allows for more timely treatment. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends people with diabetes have a comprehensive eye exam annually or even more often as recommended by their ophthalmologist.
At Center For Sight, we stress the importance of regular eye examinations to all our patients. Our experienced and highly trained eye doctors can provide you with one of the most comprehensive eye exams in the area. Before we even check your vision, we run a number of diagnostic tests. We provide all of our patients tests for glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eye, cataracts and vision.
At Center For Sight, we want our patients to enjoy living their lives at the highest level while managing their diabetes. We have experience in the diagnosis and management of diabetic eye disease so that every patient we serve can have 20/Happy vision.
If you have diabetes, schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Center For Sight today to protect yourself from preventable vision loss.