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An Eye Examination Today Can Help Prevent Blindness Caused by Diabetes

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in American adults, affecting an estimated 4.1 million people over age 40.

Because no one wants to risk losing their vision, during Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month in November, the American Society of Retina Specialists urges all adults to schedule a simple eye examination to check for the earliest signs of this disease.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that often goes unnoticed until vision is affected. It is caused by elevated blood sugar levels from diabetes damaging or blocking the small blood vessels that nourish the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye that provides clear, sharp images.

As diabetic retinopathy cuts off this blood supply, vision is impaired.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Floaters
  • Eye pain or pressure
  • A shadow in the field of vision.

If left untreated, it can lead to blindness.

Who is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy?

Anyone who has diabetes is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. 

I don't have diabetes. Do I still need an eye examination?

Because anyone—even those with the healthiest of lifestyles—can develop diabetes, it is important for all adults to schedule annual eye examinations.

What can I do to prevent vision loss from diabetes?

With early detection, vision loss can be prevented. During a routine eye examination, an ophthalmologist can see the earliest signs of the disease, long before vision is affected and, if diagnosed, refer the patient to a retina specialist.

What is a retina specialist?

A retina specialist is a highly trained physician who specializes in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and other eye conditions and diseases. The retina specialist will begin a treatment regimen to prolong vision, slow the progression of the disease, and make living with it very manageable.

Learn more about retina specialists and watch a video about the vital work they do to preserve vision.

Don't take your vision for granted

Visit our diabetic retinopathy page to learn more about this condition. The page even includes an informative video about a treatment that is helping people with diabetic eye disease.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, or if you are a diabetes patient who has recently relocated and is in need of a doctor, locate a retina specialist near you.

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