November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

Diabetes affects around 22 million Americans. Millions more are borderline diabetic, or simply unaware they have the disease.  Essentially, elevated blood sugar levels cause damage to small blood vessels. The longer one has diabetes, the greater likelihood of complications. As small blood vessels are found in nearly every part of the body, diabetes can be devastating to  patients quality of living. This includes nerve pain, inhibited recovery from injury, loss of limb(s), and blindness in severe cases.

Yearly dilated eye exams are recommended for patients who have diabetes because we can directly observe small blood vessels without invasive techniques.  Over time, diabetes can cause bleeding in the back of the eye as well as retinal thickening, which causes blurry vision.  These changes can have lasting consequences if not addressed in a timely manner.

Decreasing fat, sugar, and carbohydrate intake helps to better control blood sugar levels. Exercise, even as simple as lifting hand weights or taking a walk, helps the body to naturally use blood sugar. Your primary care doctor may recommend medication and at-home monitoring of blood sugar levels to best understand how diabetes affects you.

If you have diabetes and haven’t had an eye exam in the last year, we recommended setting up an appointment for a comprehensive eye examination.

 

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