Did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in Americans aged 20 to 65? Not many people do. EyeHealth Northwest is taking advantage of the fact that November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month by helping to generate awareness among our patients and community.
Statistics from the American Academy of Ophthalmology report that approximately 29 million Americans 20 years of age and older have diabetes, but nearly one-third don’t know they have the disease which puts them at a higher risk for vision loss and other health problems. Often symptoms go unnoticed and don’t begin to affect a person’s vision until the disease has progressed and is less easily treated. Eye problems that affect those who have diabetes include cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
Affecting 5.3 million Americans 18 and older, diabetic retinopathy is the most common vision complication associated with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially blinding condition in which blood vessels inside the retina become damaged by high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes. This results in fluid leaking into the retina, obstructing blood flow, which can lead to severe vision loss.
Early diagnosis of diabetes can greatly reduce a person’s risk of developing eye disease. With a dilated, comprehensive eye examination, our doctors can look inside your eye and examine blood vessels directly, detecting signs and symptoms of vascular disease such as diabetes and hypertension. With a comprehensive eye exam, early signs of diabetic retinopathy, such as leaking or damage blood vessels, retina swelling (macular edema), and deposits on the retina can be detected. Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness is a perfect time to invest in your vision by scheduling a comprehensive eye exam.