As the population ages, diabetes continues to be a growing epidemic in the United States. Currently there are an estimated 17.9 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, and possibly another 5.7 million people that are unaware they have the disease.
What many of these individuals may not know is that all people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk for bleeding in the back of the eyes, also known as diabetic retinopathy. In fact, bleeding from diabetes is responsible for 8% of legal blindness in the U.S., making it the leading cause of blindness among adults 20-74 years old.
With a dilated, comprehensive eye examination, an eye doctor can detect and diagnose diabetes and start you on the road to treatment for the disease. So a comprehensive eye examination should certainly be on your list as part of National Diabetes Month this November.
The American Diabetes Association recommends all diabetic patients have a dilated eye exam at least once a year with your eye doctor in order to detect any changes early and stop potential vision loss. Patients with a history of retinopathy should be seen more often than once a year.
The eye is the only part of the body where we can observe your blood vessels without cutting you open. When there is leakage or damage to the blood vessels in the eye, there are likely similar findings in the brain, heart, lungs and kidneys.
Unfortunately, in many cases there are no detectable symptoms of early stage diabetic retinopathy. Some symptoms, however, include blurred vision, a droopy eyelid, spots missing from your vision or double vision.
If you have diabetes and have been putting off an eye exam, use this month as your reason to have one. At our office, an exam with dilation lasts only an hour, with complete and comprehensive care for any of your eye conditions. We accept most major medical insurance to complete this important and necessary exam, so call today and schedule your peace of mind.