An annual comprehensive eye exam could save your sight!
If you have diabetes, you know how important it is to stay on top of the condition by working closely with your doctor to monitor blood sugar and overall health. But did you know that diabetes can also have a negative impact on your sight?
November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Which means it’s time to talk about the vision-stealing complications that can arise for people who have diabetes.
Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in the United States today. And according to the National Eye Institute, over 7 million Americans are impacted by diabetic eye disease. If you have diabetes, it’s important to work closely with your trusted Center For Sight eye doctors. Together, we can stay in front of any potential complications that could affect your vision.
There are several different kinds of diabetic eye disease, but all of them can result in vision loss and even blindness. At Center For Sight, we care about you, your health, your eyes and your vision! It’s all part of our desire for every patient we serve to have vision that is 20/happy.
Which Eye Conditions are Linked to Diabetes?
- Diabetic retinopathy. This is the most common visual complication among people with diabetes. It results in more than 10,000 new cases of blindness each year.
- Diabetic macular edema. Closely related to diabetic retinopathy, this is the most common cause of visual loss in people living with diabetes.
- Cataracts. While cataracts are considered a normal part of aging, people with diabetes are at higher risk for developing them at a younger age; two to five times more likely.
- Glaucoma. People with diabetes are more likely to develop glaucoma, which is associated with a build-up of pressure in the eye that can come in several forms or types.
A Closer Look at Diabetic Retinopathy
Since diabetic retinopathy is by far the most common vision-related complication, it warrants a closer look. Diabetes causes the weakening of the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. As a result, fluid and blood leak from these weakened vessels, and new vessels that grow can be distorted and begin to bleed. This change can injure the retina, leading to loss of vision.
Does diabetic retinopathy have symptoms?
Diabetic retinopathy most often develops without any warning signs. Damage to the eye can occur slowly and may even go unnoticed until there is significant damage. Because of this, anyone with diabetes should receive regular monitoring by a retina specialist.
How are diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema treated?
Treatment for diabetic eye disease is unique to each patient and based on your age, medical history, lifestyle and degree of damage to your retina. In its earliest stages, diabetic retinopathy may not require treatment beyond regular monitoring.
If you do require treatment, we will go over all your options, including risks, benefits and alternatives, before deciding on the best treatment plan for your situation. Medical management of diabetic retinopathy typically includes intravitreal injections or laser therapy (also called photocoagulation) to seal or shrink leaking blood vessels.
Don’t Skip Your Annual Sight-Saving Exam
Annual comprehensive eye exams are so important as they can reveal hidden signs of disease, allowing for more timely treatment. This is why the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends people with diabetes have them annually or more often as recommended by an ophthalmologist.
“If you have diabetes, a yearly comprehensive eye exam should be a part of your overall care.
It’s one of the best things you can do to prevent vision loss.”
Eva Liang, MD, board-certified ophthalmologist and founder of Center For Sight
At Center For Sight, our dedicated clinical team has extensive experience in the diagnosis and management of diabetic eye disease. If you have diabetes (even if you aren’t experiencing any eye symptoms), schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Center For Sight today. Let us help you protect yourself from preventable vision loss.