DIABeducation™: Have a Look!

Has it been longer than 1 year since your last eye exam? If you value the gift of vision, you won’t delay in making an appointment with your eye doctor, especially after you learn the price of waiting.

A recent study concluded that eight percent of people with pre-diabetes already had early diabetic retinopathy (leakages in the blood vessels in the back of the eye that can cause blindness) and its prevalence may increase shortly after diagnosis. If you’ve had diabetes for years consider this: symptoms of eye disease are a late sign and may be permanent. The only way to protect your sight, is to have regular eye exams, control glucose and blood pressure, and if you smoke—stop.

The good news is that for every 1 percent reduction in your A1C, you have a 40 percent reduction in eye disease. With timely treatment (medications and/or laser surgery), blindness can be prevented by 95 percent. That’s huge.

Common eye problems associated with diabetes

Blurry vision (caused by a bending of the lens under conditions of high glucose levels—wait to get new glasses until glucose levels stabilize)

Cataracts (a clouding of the lens is twice as common in people with diabetes)

Glaucoma (an increased pressure in the eye that may damage the optic nerve; the first symptom is to lose sight out of the corner of your eyes)

Retinopathy (blood vessels leak fluid into the light-sensing lining in the back of the eye, called the retina, which can lead to vision loss depending where the leakage occurred). Uncontrolled diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of diabetes (upwards of 25,000 cases a year in United States alone)

How often do I need an eye exam?

A dilated eye exam is recommended within a few months after getting diagnosed, and yearly there after, regardless of how long you’ve had diabetes.

If you don’t have insurance or can’t afford to see an ophthalmologist, talk to your doctor about a payment plan. Seniors who do not belong to an HMO or the VA may have a free eye exam by calling Eye Care America at 877-887-6327.