November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month
According to national statistics and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 20 million Americans over the age of 20 have diabetes. Almost a third of these individuals do not know that they have the disease and are at risk for vision loss.
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye diseases that affect individuals with diabetes and includes diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. Early symptoms of these diseases often go unnoticed, and vision may not be affected until the diseases are in an advanced stage.
Diabetic retinopathy affects 5.3 million Americans aged 18 and older. This condition occurs when the blood vessels inside the retina become damaged from the high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes. This causes the fluids to leak into the retina and interfere with blood flow and could lead to vision loss.
While the early stages of the disease may not show, once the disease is in advanced stages, individuals may experience floaters, blurred vision, fluctuating vision, impaired color vision, dark areas in vision, and vision loss.
Individuals with diabetes may also suffer from cataracts at an earlier age and are twice as likely to develop glaucoma.
Annual comprehensive eye exams are the most effective tool for the detection and monitoring of diabetic eye disease. Individuals with diabetes or who are at risk for developing diabetes should schedule an eye exam with dilation yearly.
Contact us to schedule your exam today.