November is National Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 29 million Americans age 20 or older have diabetes, but almost one-third don’t know they have the disease and are at risk for vision loss and other health problems.
Diabetic eye disease includes diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. The most common of these is diabetic retinopathy, which affects 5.3 million Americans age 18 and older. Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially blinding condition. This is when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels can swell and leak. Or they can close, stopping blood from passing through. These changes can take your vision away.
All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause severe vision loss and blindness. Early diagnosis of diabetes and maintaining strict control of blood sugar and hypertension through diet, exercise and medication, can help reduce your risk of developing eye disease associated with diabetes. Help your eyes stay healthy! Get a comprehensive eye examination by an eye care professional completed yearly.