November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month

Blindness is one of many potential complications stemming from diabetes, along with nerve damage, stroke, and kidney disease, among others. Diabetes increases the risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts, but diabetic retinopathy is the most common vision problem stemming from diabetes.

Diabetes affect eye health

In the United States, 3.6 million people over the age of 40 suffer from diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when high sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. Damage can include:

  • Swelling and leaking of the blood vessels
  • Closing of the blood vessels, blocking off blood flow
  • The growth of new, abnormal vessels on the retina

Any of these changes can result in the loss of vision, and in its early stages, diabetic retinopathy shows no symptoms which makes preventative check-ups and early diagnosis and treatment crucial. There are currently 3.6 million Americans over the age of 40 living with diabetic retinopathy, and while treatments are available early detection and treatment are far more effective which makes a comprehensive annual eye exam a must.

Prevention is also an important aspect of living with diabetes and preventing complications. You can help prevent diabetic retinopathy and other potential complications by:

  • Monitoring and controlling blood sugar levels
  • Maintaining a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol level
  • Make healthy food choices & exercising regularly
  • Quitting smoking
  • Paying close attention to changes in vision

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