if you have diabetic eye disease then preserve your vision by scheduling your annual eye exam
People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to become blind than people without diabetes due to the disease diabetic retinopathy. With more than 16 million people in the United States with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy is a huge risk to anyone with diabetes. It is estimated that 24,000 people lose their sight each year due to the disease.
Having diabetes, however, does not automatically mean you will lose your sight. You can detect and treat diabetic retinopathy by scheduling your annual eye exam.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition in which the blood vessels within the retina are damaged from the high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes. The damaged vessels can cause retinal detachment, hemorrhaging, or macular edema, which can damage your vision permanently.
More than one-third of those diagnosed with diabetes do not receive the eye care that is recommended and are at risk for vision loss. Many do not realize they have diabetic retinopathy until it is too late as symptoms in the early stages are almost unnoticeable. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, schedule a complete, dilated eye examination once a year to prevent further vision complications.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy include:
Blurred vision in one eye or both eyes
Floaters in one eye or both eyes
Blurred vision or floaters that last more than a few days
Diagnosing Diabetic Retinopathy
Your ophthalmologist can usually detect diabetic retinopathy before even you are aware of vision problems. Prevention is the best treatment for diabetic retinopathy, and vision loss can be prevented with strict control of your blood sugar.
Schedule an exam when you are first diagnosed with diabetes, you should have your eyes checked:
Within five years of the diagnosis if you are 29 years old or younger;
Within a few months of the diagnosis if you are 30 years old and older.
You should also schedule an exam annually after diagnosis.