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Awareness of Diabetic Retinopathy and Vision Loss During National Diabetes Month


Diabetes is the leading causal agent of impaired sight of men and women between age twenty and seventy-four. In just the last four years, over 4 million individuals in North America afflicted with diabetes were diagnosed with blindness caused by diabetes. Out of those tested, 70,000 suffered from advanced diabetic retinopathy, which can result in irreversible loss of vision.


While not everyone is at risk of diabetic retinopathy, it is good to know the connection between the disease and vision loss.


Having diabetes is the first risk factor. Anyone in this category should ensure that they have an eye exam yearly. The longer the affliction remains unchecked, the greater the danger of diabetes caused vision loss. Timely treatment is the key to halting further deterioration.


Pregnant women that are found to have gestational diabetes have a stronger possibility of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is advisable to have a complete dilated eye test after diagnosis as well.


Maybe you are wondering, why all the worry? Wouldn't there be obvious symptoms if you were losing your sight?


The answer shockingly is no. There are several kinds of diabetic retinopathy, and only those in the acute stages are easily discernible. Proliferative diabetes can have no symptoms. Macular edema is another diabetes caused disease which results in extreme sight loss. Both conditions can appear without noticeable signs. This is why early detection is important to stopping any irreparable injury.


A comprehensive examination will seek out precursors of diabetic retinopathy. There are various steps to this exam which will detect the typical indicators, such as damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, the presence of fatty deposits on the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is included in a complete vision exam?


First of all you will undergo a visual acuity test by means of an eye chart that is used to determine how correctly you are able to see at varying distances. This is just like the visual acuity tests given by your eye doctor to see if you require glasses.


In a dilated eye exam, the optometrist puts drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils. Though not a favorite of most people, it can stop loss of vision later on. This practice makes it feasible to examine a larger section of the interior portion of your eyes to check for distinct clues that indicate the presence of diabetic retinopathy. The momentary discomfort may save your vision.


Take care of your health. Even a little laziness can lead to serious loss. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is imperative to plan an eye exam with your optometrist once a year without fail.