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Home » What's New » November is National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month

Did you know that diabetes is the main agent of vision loss of men and women of all ages? If not, you are not alone. In just the last four years, over four million people in North America suffering from diabetes were tested positive for diabetes related blindness. Of this number, 70,000 had advanced diabetic retinopathy, which may result in untreatable blindness.

Exactly, how important is it to be tested for diabetic retinopathy?

Having diabetes is the first risk factor. One method to learn if you have diabetes related vision loss is to have your optometrist test your vision once a year. The longer the disease remains unmonitored, the greater the danger of diabetes related vision loss. Timely treatment is the key to preventing further damage.

Women who are pregnant that are found to have diabetes have a stronger risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is important to schedule a comprehensive dilated eye test after diagnosis as well.

Maybe you are wondering, why all the concern? Won't there be obvious symptoms of blindness?

The answer shockingly is, not always. There are many forms of diabetic retinopathy, and only those which are in the severe stages are easy to discern. Progressive diabetes might have no symptoms. Macular edema is another diabetes related disease which results in extreme vision loss. Both afflictions can manifest without any noticeable signs. This is a reason that early diagnosis is essential to saving yourself from lasting deterioration.

A thorough test will detect signs of diabetic retinopathy. There are various stages to this exam which will expose the standard symptoms, including damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, the existence of fatty deposits on the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is involved in a complete eye exam?

Firstly, you will get a visual acuity test by means of an eye chart that is used to measure how correctly you are able to see at varying distances. This is just like the visual acuity examinations given by your eye doctor, should you need glasses.

While giving a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor places drops in your eyes to enlarge the size of your pupils. Though not a favorite of the squeamish, it can stop loss of vision in subsequent years. This step makes it feasible to check more of the inside of your eyes to identify for unique clues that show the presence of diabetic retinopathy. The cursory discomfort could save your eye sight.

Take care of your eye sight. Even a little complacency can cause irreparable deterioration. If you are diabetic, it is imperative to plan an eye exam with an eye doctor every year.