Research shows that an annual, routine eye exam could prevent 95% of vision loss caused by diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Eyepic Eye Care is reiterating the importance of eye exams during the month of November, which is observed as Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month.
What is the leading cause of blindness in the United States?
Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the United States among adults aged 20 to 74 and is the fifth most common cause of preventable blindness globally. Among the 30 million Americans with diabetes, about one-third have diabetic retinopathy, the potentially blinding complication of diabetes.
People typically don’t notice changes in their vision in the disease’s early stages. But as it progresses, diabetic retinopathy usually causes vision loss that in many cases cannot be reversed. That’s why it’s so important that everyone with diabetes has yearly exams for early detection. But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consistently reports that less than two-thirds of people with diabetes undergo their recommended annual dilated ophthalmic examination. These rates are even lower among children and adolescents with diabetes, with less than half of youth with type 2 diabetes receiving an examination within six years of diagnosis.
Am I at risk for diabetes?
Many people live with prediabetes and diabetes without knowing it. That is because early symptoms can be easy to miss and is why Eyepic Eyecare is stressing the importance of an annual comprehensive eye exam. An annual comprehensive eye exam is critical for the prevention and early detection of eye complications related to diabetes. Take the risk test, which is a 60-second Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test, provided by the American Diabetes Association.
What are some of the warning signs of diabetic eye disease?
Some diabetic eye diseases have no signs or symptoms until they are too obvious to ignore, which might present as:
- Blurred vision
- Dark spots or “holes”
- Flashes of light
- Seeing an increased amount of floaters
- Poor night vision
How can I learn more about Diabetic Eye Disease and the diabetes community?
The following video features some of the American Diabetes Association’s healthy vision ambassadors, also known as “champions”. Patricia shares her story of diabetic vision loss, Natalie shares her story of living with diabetic retinopathy, and Roger shares his story of living with Type 2 diabetes. In these stories, you can learn more as these people share their experiences and the risk of diabetes-related eye disease directly from the leading voices in the field.
“We all live busy lives. When patients with diabetes are told nothing is wrong during their first eye exams, are asymptomatic, and have difficulty taking time off work, it’s easy to see how coming in for yet another health appointment might be deprioritized if the risks aren’t communicated to the patient,” said Ravi Parikh, MD, MPH, the study’s senior author. “The health care system as it stands today is not equipped to handle missed exams effectively. Maintaining follow-up exams also is a real problem.”
To schedule your routine eye exam, give us a call or request an appointment at the Eyepic Eyecare location nearest you.