Don’t Let Diabetes Steal Your Vision

In November, as we prepare for winter celebrations, Atlantic Eye joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in observing Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. This is the month when we bring attention to the fact that people with diabetes are at increased risk of developing serious eye diseases. Because regular eye exams are especially important for diabetics, we recommend that people with diabetes have eye exams annually, or more often if indicated. Fortunately, having a dilated eye exam yearly or more often can prevent 95 percent of diabetes-related vision loss.

If you are among the one-out-of-ten Americans who have diabetes, you are at greater risk for visual impairment due to the eye disease diabetic retinopathy. This is when high blood sugar levels cause damage in the retina, such as:

  • Blood vessels that swell and leak.
  • Blood vessels that close, stopping blood from passing through.
  • Abnormal new blood vessels that grow on the retina.

These changes may not be noticeable at first but may progress and steal your vision. Though
vision loss from diabetes-related disease is tragic, it is preventable if caught in time.

However, according to a large study, more than half of diabetics neglect to have annual, sight-saving eye exams. Eye exams are critical as they can reveal hidden signs of disease, enabling timely treatment. Study findings of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes over a four-year period revealed that:

  • Fifty-eight percent of patients did not have regular follow-up eye exams
  • Smokers were 20 percent less likely to have exams
  • Those with less-severe disease and no eye problems were least likely to follow recommendations
  • Those who had diabetic retinopathy were 30 percent more likely to have follow-up exams

So, if you’re diabetic, don’t wait. Make November your month to schedule an annual sight-saving eye exam with an ophthalmologist at one of Atlantic Eye’s four New Jersey locations. Then, you can look forward to the holidays knowing that you are taking good care of the precious gift of your vision.