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November is National Diabetes Month

Did you know that diabetes is the dominant causal agent of impaired vision of adults between age twenty and seventy-four? If not, you are not alone. Since 2008, over 4 million men and women in North America suffering from diabetes were subsequently diagnosed with diabetes related blindness. Of this group, 70,000 were afflicted with acute diabetic retinopathy, which, if left unmonitored, will lead to untreatable blindness.

While not everyone is at risk of diabetic retinopathy, it is good to understand the connection between the disease and loss of sight.

Firstly, individuals living with diabetes are at risk. Anyone in this category should ensure that they have an eye exam yearly. The longer the disease goes unmonitored, the stronger the danger of diabetes caused vision loss. Speedy treatment will go a long way in halting further damage.

Expectant mothers that are found to have gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is important to schedule a complete dilated eye exam after diagnosis as well.

Maybe you are wondering, why all the worry? Wouldn’t there be obvious symptoms if you were losing your sight?

Well the answer surprisingly is, not always. There are many types of diabetic retinopathy, and only those which are in the advanced phases are easily discernible. Advanced diabetes can have no symptoms. Macular edema is another diabetes caused disease which results in severe sight loss. Both afflictions can manifest without any obvious signs. This is a reason that early diagnosis is the key to preventing lasting injury.

A thorough examination will seek out precursors of diabetic retinopathy. There are individual stages to this exam which will expose the tell-tale symptoms, including damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, the presence of fatty deposits on the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is entailed in a complete eye test?

The eye doctor will perform a visual acuity test by means of an eye chart that is used to determine how accurately you see at various distances. This is the same as the visual acuity exams given by optometrists to see if you require corrective lenses.

To give a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor puts drops in your eyes to amplify your pupils. Though not a particularly beloved test by the squeamish, it can stop loss of vision further down the road. This measure makes it easier to check a larger section of the interior portion of your eyes to look for distinct signs that imply the presence of diabetic retinopathy. The short discomfort will probably save your ability to see.

Take care of your health. Even a little laziness can cause severe deterioration. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is imperative to plan a vision exam with your eye doctor once a year without fail.