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American Diabetes Month® | The Importance of Comprehensive Eye Exams

November marks the start of the American Diabetes Month®, an event sponsored by the American Diabetes Foundation®.  A leading cause of blindness among adults, ExamHealth reports on something that every diabetes patient should be thinking about this time of year:  a comprehensive eye exam.

“The American Optometric Association (AOA) is reminding Americans with diabetes about the importance of scheduling annual, dilated comprehensive eye exams to help detect and even prevent eye and vision disorders that could lead to blindness,” explains ExamHealth.  “Each year, 12,000 to 24,000 individuals lose their sight because of diabetes.”  An all-too-common condition in the US, the American Diabetes Foundation reports that nearly 26 million Americans are living with the condition.

What’s more, “The AOA notes that the results from its 2012 American Eye-Q® consumer survey revealed that only 44% of Americans are aware that diabetic eye disease often has no visual signs or symptoms,” reports ExamHealth.  “Additionally, 43% of Americans are unaware that a person with diabetes should have a comprehensive eye exam once a year.”

Not sure what you should be looking out for?  Read on!

Diabetes and Your Eye Health

So, why are comprehensive eye exams so important for those living with diabetes?  The answer is simple – those with diabetes are at a significantly higher risk for developing several of today’s most serious eye conditions.  Here’s a brief introduction:

  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is an eye disorder characterized by an increased pressure in the eye.  A leading cause of blindness in the US, glaucoma is a progressive condition that causes a gradual loss of vision.  And, while there is no cure, glaucoma can often be treated with eye drops and certain other medications.   In some cases, we treat the condition with lasers or surgery.  A condition where early detection is everything, diabetes sufferers need to be even more vigilant when it comes to regular glaucoma screenings.
  • Cataracts: You can think of a cataract as a clouding of the eye’s lens.  A progressive condition, cataracts can ultimately affect one’s ability to see clearly.  Most common among older patients, those with diabetes are also at an elevated risk for developing the condition.  When it comes to treatment, patients will often benefit from Cataract Surgery.  During the procedure, the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens also known as an Intraocular Lens (IOL).
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that weakens the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina.  This is the light-sensitive lining in the back of the eye where vision is focused. As these vessels leak, swell or develop thin branches, vision loss can ultimately occur. Our practice offers comprehensive Diabetic Eye Care including routine eye exams.

Schedule Your Eye Exam Today

Make sure you schedule your comprehensive eye exam this November!  Our offices are located in in Winchester, serving Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, and you can reach us directly at (540) 722-6200.  Contact us today.

Posted in: Eye Health

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