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November is Diabetes Awareness Month!

By Dr. Melissa Vanray, O.D.

The leading cause of blindness among adults in the United States is diabetic retinopathy.  This disease affects an estimated 4.1 million Americans according to the CDC, and diabetic retinopathy is more common than you might think.  What is diabetic retinopathy?  It is an eye condition which causes damage to the blood vessels in the retina, which in turn results in bleeding and swelling inside the back of the eye.  Diabetic retinopathy is a serious eye condition which can cause vision loss if not treated properly and promptly.

Typically, there are no symptoms for early diabetic retinopathy.  Symptoms of diabetic eye disease include blurry vision, spots or floaters in vision, trouble seeing at night, and loss of vision.  By the time symptoms develop, severe damage may have already occurred and maybe irreversible.  This is why early detection and treatment is so imperative.  All diabetics should have a yearly eye exam.  Those with diabetic retinopathy may need to be monitored more closely and asked to come in more frequently.  Dilating the eyes gives your eye doctor a more thorough view of the inside of your eyes including the retina.  A dilated eye exam along with retinal photos is the best way to check for retinopathy and other eye diseases.  Annual eye exams can detect diabetic retinopathy before sight is impacted and too much damage is done.

Poorly controlled diabetes, higher HbA1c level, tobacco use, and length of diabetes can increase risk of diabetic retinopathy and other complications.  Other risk factors include pregnancy, family history, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.  The best way to minimize risk and better control diabetes is to have regular medical exams and take prescribed medications as directed, avoid tobacco use, maintain a healthy diet and weight, exercise regularly, and keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control.

There is good news!  In fact, 95% of cases of potential vison loss are thought to be preventable with early detection and treatment according to The National Eye Institute.  If it has been a year or longer since your last eye exam, please call to schedule your annual comprehensive eye and vision exam!  All the eye doctors here at Vista Eye Care are trained to diagnose and manage diabetic eye disease.  We would love to have you and your family trust Vista Eye Care with your vision and eye health.  Call us today at (303) 450-2020, or use the button below to schedule your examination online:

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