Why Diabetics Should Get Their Eyes Checked

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Learn why you need to take care of your eyes if you have diabetes.

Annual eye exams are an important part of staying healthy, especially if you have diabetes. Even if you can see clearly, dilated eye exams help detect conditions that may not cause symptoms but can result in serious damage to your vision if they go undetected.

Why do diabetics need annual eye exams? Find out the answer to that and more at www.Guthrie.org

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Learn more about how diabetes affects eye health.

What is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye problems that can affect anyone with type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes. These problems can include cataracts, glaucoma, and most commonly, diabetic retinopathy. As these conditions progress, they can lead to poor vision and irreversible blindness.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy damages blood vessels in the retina, at the back of the eye, and is the leading cause of blindness in adults. Diabetic retinopathy may have no symptoms in its early stages, so it’s important that all diabetics have their eyes checked at least once every year. In later stages of diabetic retinopathy, dark spots or streaks may appear in your vision, caused by blood leaking into the gel of the eye. These symptoms can come and go, but it’s important to get treatment as soon as you notice them.

Preventing and Treating Diabetic Eye Disease

While all diabetics are at risk of developing diabetic eye disease, there are steps that can be taken to avoid the disease or prevent it from progressing.

Managing your diabetes is the best way to lower your risk of diabetic eye disease – that includes getting a handle on glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol. In addition, nicotine in cigarettes can make it more difficult to control your diabetes, so quitting smoking is also strongly recommended.

Lastly, if you have diabetes, you should make it a priority to have an eye exam every year. Diabetic eye disease does not always show symptoms at first and, if the disease progresses too far, it can cause permanent damage to your vision. Thankfully, a comprehensive dilated eye exam performed by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist can catch it early, when it is easiest to treat. In the early stages of diabetic eye disease, your doctor may simply monitor your eyes. In later stages, treatments can include intravitreal injections, laser treatment, and surgery.

It’s never too late to start managing your diabetes and protecting your vision. Through lifestyle changes and annual eye exams, you can lower your risk levels and keep your eyes healthy for years to come.

Schedule an exam with a Guthrie optometrist or ophthalmologist near you today. Visit www.Guthrie.org or call Guthrie Specialty Eye Care at 800-4-SIGHT-2.