Diabetes Awareness Month: Don’t Turn a Blind Eye to Eye Disease

Set your sights on healthy vision

One in 10 people in the United States have diabetes. That’s more than 29 million people! And another 86 million people have prediabetes, which some experts argue isn’t much different than diabetes itself. There are a lot of health impacts to consider, but eyesight often gets lost in the shuffle. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in this country.

“The longer a person has diabetes, the greater is his or her risk of developing diabetic eye disease,” says Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Eye Institute (NEI).

Diabetic eye disease includes a number of diseases: cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. Dr. Sieving says. “If you have diabetes, be sure to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Diabetic eye disease often has no early warning signs, but can be detected early and treated before vision loss occurs. Don’t wait until you notice an eye problem to have a dilated eye exam, because vision that is lost often cannot be restored.”

People with diabetes can help slow the progression of diabetic eye disease by maintaining good control of their blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol—in other words, by TRACKing.

Take your medications.
Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Add physical activity to your daily routine.
Control your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
Kick the smoking habit.

For more information on diabetic eye disease, visit nei.nih.gov/diabetes.

Category: Body

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