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Why Are Annual Eye Exams Important for People With Diabetes?

Learn more about diabetic retinopathy with Eye Care of Delaware in Newark.
Image Credit – YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/Shutterstock.com

We know things happen – scheduling an eye exam can be overlooked, other health issues may be of more concern, perhaps even financial issues may crop up. However, for patients with diabetes, missing an eye exam could threaten your vision. Diabetes can cause several eye diseases including glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Eye Care of Delaware joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in emphasizing the importance of eye exams during November, which is observed as Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month.

Diabetes and the Urgency of Annual Eye Exams

Among U.S. adults from age 20–74, diabetes is actually the leading cause of preventable blindness. And worldwide, it’s the fifth most common cause of preventable blindness. Among the 30 million Americans with diabetes, about one-third have diabetic retinopathy, the potentially blinding complication of diabetes.

In the disease’s early stages people typically don’t notice changes in their vision. But as it progresses, diabetic retinopathy usually causes vision loss that in many cases cannot be reversed. That’s why it’s so important for everyone with diabetes to have annual exams for early detection.

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 eye 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.

Three Primary Reasons Why Diabetic Eye Disease Needs Our Attention

1. It develops gradually.

Diabetic retinopathy often goes unnoticed until symptoms are so severe that patients are at risk of completely losing their vision.

2. It can result from having diabetes.

Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness, and disproportionately affects people of color.

Because people of different ethnic groups are more prone to developing type 2 diabetes, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Asian-Americans are collectively at a higher risk for diabetic eye diseases.

3. Patients can fight it with a healthy lifestyle.

Prevention is key. Taking positive steps that include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly (and taking diabetes medications correctly) can prevent or even delay any vision loss.

Learn More About Diabetic Retinopathy With Our Newark, DE Specialists Today

Eye Care of Delaware offers professional care and advice to patients in Newark, DE. To find out more about diabetic eye disease and diabetic retinopathy, contact us today. Call our team at (302) 454-8800 or request an appointment.

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