With more than 29 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the US, the chances are good that you or someone you know is struggling with this disease. It's considered a "chronic disease epidemic" and more needs to be done to raise awareness about it. African Americans, Hispanics, Asians Americans, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders are particularly at risk.
From our perspective, not only are we concerned about the devastating effects on our patients' overall health, but particularly the potential risk to their eyes and vision. People with untreated diabetes are 25 times more likely to lose their sight. So what are the effects on the eyes?
- Diabetic retinopathy: leaky blood vessels in the eyes that can cause bleeding and starvation of the retina. This can lead to blindness.
- Macular edema: swelling of the macula which can lead to vision loss.
- Cataracts: people with diabetes are at increased risk for cataract formation which causes clouding of the lens and impairs vision.
- Glaucoma: diabetes increases the risk of glaucoma which is an eye disease that leads to retinal tissue damage and vision loss.
November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month. If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, it's important to have regular comprehensive eye exams to assess the health of your eyes. If you haven't had your eyes assessed, schedule your eye exam today.
(thumbnail photo credit: medscape.com)