Vision Impact of Diabetes:
Preserve Your Sight with an Annual Eye Exam
With March being 'Save Your Vision Month', I wanted to discuss the leading cause of blindness in American adults. The disease called Diabetes Mellitus, or commonly called 'Diabetes' is a group of diseases caused by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that results from defects in the body's ability to produce/use insulin. If left untreated, Diabetes can cause a permanent loss of vision.
Many people do not realize that the Diabetic epidemic will target half of all Americans by 2020. In a recent study from the American Diabetes Association, 79 million people living in the USA are at risk for Diabetes. There are 26 million people diagnosed with Diabetes and a staggering 7 million people who are Diabetic but do not know they have the disease.
Many of the diagnosed and undiagnosed Diabetics can be impacted by a loss of vision due to changes within the eye, specifically the retina. The condition called Diabetic Retinopathy causes changes in the blood vessels of the retina. These blood vessels may swell and leak fluid causing vision to fluctuate. If left untreated, Diabetes causes the growth of abnormal blood vessels which develop within the retina that can lead to a permanent blindness.
If you are diabetic, having an annual eye exam is essential in preserving your sight. Through the eye health evaluation Eye Doctors can diagnose retinal changes associated with the progression of the disease. Also, through the refraction part of the eye exam ('which is better 1 or 2?') fluctuating sugar levels can cause unexpected changes in vision and hence, the optical prescription given. In the majority of cases your Eye Doctor consults with your primary care physician in helping to maintain a healthy sugar level and preserving your vision.
For the rest of us who are healthy or for the segment of the population who may be at risk for Diabetes but may not realize it, an annual eye examination is critical for maintaining healthy vision. Keep in mind that the eye is the 'window to the body' and the annual eye examination can uncover systemic medical conditions like Diabetes that are only detectable via the eye examination. This is one of the main reasons Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the USA. Many people believe "Why do I need to get my eyes checked – I can see fine!"
Keep in mind, eye examinations preserve sight and help to detect Diabetes. The value of the eye exam is more than just a pair of glasses. It is a preventative wellness check for the entire body to ensure clear and healthy vision throughout your lifetime.
Nothing on this web site is intended, nor should it be construed, as professional advice. Those reviewing the information should consult with a qualified professional.