Oh, November. How we love you. You usher in cool(er) temps, fantastic food, quality time with family and friends, the holidays! But November also marks Diabetes Awareness Month and Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. It’s the time we shine a spotlight on this debilitating and potentially sight-stealing disease that affects more than 30 million Americans.
At Mann Eye Institute, we are passionate about making sure our patients have all the facts they need where vision health is concerned. Here are 5 important things you need to know about diabetes and how it can affect your vision:
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 throughout your body, including your eyes.
Diabetic retinopathy 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.
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 swelling can lead to permanent vision loss if not identified and treated.
Other vision complications from diabetes include glaucoma and cataracts. Individuals with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age and are twice as likely to develop glaucoma as are non-diabetics. Regular eye exams, early detection, and timely disease management can help protect against further vision loss.
You should prioritize an annual dilated eye exam. This is especially true if you have diabetes. A comprehensive eye exam can help detect things that a regular vision test cannot and it can also help identify more serious vision problems.
An Annual Eye Exam Could Save Your Sight!
Annual comprehensive eye exams are important for everyone but especially so for people with diabetes as they can reveal hidden signs of disease. Timely intervention allows for more timely treatment. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends people with diabetes have a comprehensive eye exam annually or more often as recommended by their ophthalmologist.
At Mann Eye Institute, we stress the importance of regular eye examinations to all our patients. Your yearly exam can be the biggest factor in saving your vision should you have any vision-threatening diseases. Our experienced and highly trained eye doctors can provide you with one of the most comprehensive eye exams in the area.
At Mann Eye Institute, your comprehensive eye exam will include:
- a health history evaluation
- a visual acuity test to measure how sharp your vision is
- a motility exam to see how well your eyes work together
- refraction to determine your best-corrected vision prescription
- tests to assess your risk for developing glaucoma
- pupil dilation to help detect cataracts, macular degeneration and other serious eye conditions
At Mann Eye Institute, we want our patients to enjoy living their lives at the highest level while managing their diabetes. We have deep experience in the diagnosis and management of diabetic eye disease so that every patient we serve can See Life Better.
If you have diabetes, schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Mann Eye Institute today to protect yourself from preventable vision loss.