Having Diabetes Doesn't Have to Lead to Blindness
Friday, November 4, 2016
Posted by: Katie Lewis
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Having Diabetes Doesn’t Have to Lead to Blindness
This Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, Make a Commitment to Protect Your Sight
Springfield, IL - As a leading cause of blindness, diabetic retinopathy often has no early warning signs. With November being National Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, the Illinois Optometric Association (IOA) encourages you to take steps to protect your sight.
According to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) 2014 statistics, 22 million Americans had diagnosed diabetes. Eight million Americans suffer from diabetic retinopathy according to Prevent Blindness. Diabetic eye disease is caused by damage to the small blood vessels of the retina. Increased sugar in the blood weakens the blood vessel walls and can cause leaks, poor circulation and may result in fragile new vessels called neovascularization. There are usually no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. This is why it is crucial for people with diabetes to have annual eye exams.
The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. This is why those impacted by diabetes should have a comprehensive dilated eye examination yearly, or as directed by their optometrist.
"I thought it was a normal aging process I was going through when my vision started changing all of a sudden,” stated Rhonda Cooper of Peoria, IL. She explained, “I was having really dry eyes and a dry mouth. When I went to my optometrist, I thought he was going to tell me I needed glasses. Instead he told me to go get my blood sugar checked, and sure enough I had diabetes. I was able to get my blood sugar under control before any major complications arose. "
The most common symptoms include:
· Sudden increase in eye floaters (spots and/or dark cobweb-like strands)
· Blurred vision
· Fluctuating vision
· Dark spots
· Sudden loss of vision in one eye
· Halos around lights
· Flashing lights
Maintaining healthy blood sugar and blood pressure levels while watching one’s diet are all ways that people can protect themselves. The sooner the problem is caught, the better the possible outcomes. If any of the above symptoms are noted, contact your eye care professional for available treatment options. The best course of action is to stay educated and informed by having an annual dilated eye exam. To locate a qualified eye care professional, contact the Illinois Optometric Association to find a member optometrist in your area.
Members of the Illinois Optometric Association are committed to patient education and protecting the public’s right to quality eye care.