Diabetes and the Importance of Eye Care

Did you know? More than 30 million people live with diabetes. In fact, diabetes is one of the most common medical conditions in the world today.

If you, yourself, don’t live with diabetes, the chances are high that you know someone who does or will be diagnosed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.7 million new cases are diagnosed every year.

You may be familiar with some of the side effects of this disease, like heart and kidney problems, but diabetes can also significantly impact vision. Nearly 80% of people living with diabetes will develop a condition called diabetic retinopathy – a serious complication that could lead to total vision loss. As a person living with or loving someone with diabetes, it’s important to understand how to promote good eye health.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the back of the eyes (the retina). Any patient living with diabetes is at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, so it’s important to be regularly evaluated by a medical provider.

How do doctors test for diabetic retinopathy?

Eye specialists will use a variety of diagnostic tools to test for the condition including:
• Eye dilation
• Ocular pressure test
• Tomography
• Visual acuity testing

The goal of the testing is to slow or stop the progression of the condition and preserve your eyesight. If it is not diagnosed and treated early, the blood vessels can leak blood and fluid into the retina causing macular swelling which leads to vision damage.

How often should diabetes patients have their vision tested?

Type 1 diabetic patients should have annual screenings for diabetic retinopathy, beginning five years after the onset of the disease. Type 2 diabetic patients should have an eye exam at the initial time of diagnosis, then annually after that.

Our team at Broadway Medical Clinic can help.

If you have been recently diagnosed or are living with diabetes, your Broadway physician can help you with important strategies to manage the disease. Our primary care doctors can conduct initial diabetic retinopathy screenings and will follow up annually with screenings, too. If needed, we will recommend further evaluation by an eye doctor.

To learn more about living an active, healthy lifestyle with diabetes or getting care for diabetic retinopathy, contact us today or visit the The American Diabetes Association.

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