Annual eye exams are key for those with diabetes

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November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

By Dr. E. Trevor Elmquist, founder of Elmquist Eye Group

Annual eye exams are key for those with diabetes

Some eye conditions may not feature any notable symptoms until they reach more advanced stages when floating spots and blurred vision become apparent. Therefore, it is essential for you to care for the health of your eyes before signs of vision loss occur. Regular eye examinations can help you keep minor problems minor.

This
is particularly important following a diabetes diagnosis. The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 90% of vision
loss from diabetes can be prevented, but studies show that 60% of
diabetics are not getting the exams recommended. In early stages,
diabetic eye issues often have no symptoms.

Annual eye exams are key for those with diabetes

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, people with diabetes are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those who are not diabetic, and risk for many issues increases the longer you have diabetes.

Individuals with diabetes are at risk for developing:

  • Diabetic retinopathy – Decreased vision when blood-sugar levels damage blood vessels within the retina
  • Diabetic macular edema – An accumulation of fluid in the macula, caused by diabetic retinopathy, that can result in significant vision loss
  • Cataracts – Clouding of the lens as a result of excess blood sugar from diabetes
  • Glaucoma – Having diabetes increases your risk of getting certain types of glaucoma, a disease of the optic nerve that can lead to vision loss and even blindness
  • Prescription changes – Eyeglass or contact prescriptions can change with diabetes
Annual eye exams are key for those with diabetes

The National Eye Institute reports that diabetic retinopathy affects 40% to 45% of Americans diagnosed with diabetes, yet only half of these individuals are aware of their condition.

For
individuals with diabetes or at risk of developing diabetes, having a
dilated eye exam each year is vital to extend and protect their eye
health. Regular eye exams provide ophthalmologists and optometrists
an opportunity to monitor and detect developing eye conditions before
vision loss
occurs.

Even
patients who have modified their diet and are mindful of their blood
sugar levels may not realize how diabetes is impacting their
eyesight. Trained
ophthalmologists
and optometrists can take an in-depth look inside your eye to
investigate for any diabetic complications and diagnose more subtle
forms of vision loss or other serious
health conditions
related to the eye.

Annual eye exams are key for those with diabetes

Subtle
changes in vision can easily go unnoticed throughout the course of
our daily lives. Substantial
vision loss can be avoided if these conditions are detected and
treated in a timely manner, so individuals with diabetes shouldn’t
wait to make an appointment concerning their eyes. Blood sugar
control and early detection and diagnosis are most important in
preventing loss of vision.

About the Author

Annual eye exams are key for those with diabetes

Dr. E. Trevor Elmquist is the founder of Elmquist Eye Group. With more than 25 years of service to the Southwest Florida community, Elmquist Eye Group provides patients with a complete range of medical and surgical eye care services, including comprehensive eye exams, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease and many more eye conditions.

For more information, visit www.Elmquist.com, call 239-936-2020 or stop by an Optical Boutique location in Fort Myers or Cape Coral.

Annual eye exams are key for those with diabetes
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