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This Month is National Diabetes Month

Did you know that diabetes is the number one agent of vision loss in men and women aged 20-74 years? In the past four years alone, over 4 million people in North America living with diabetes were found to have diabetes related blindness. Of this number, seventy thousand suffered from advanced diabetic retinopathy, which, if left unmonitored, will lead to a complete vision loss.

While not everyone is at risk of diabetes related vision loss, it is good to be aware of the relationship between the disease and loss of sight.

An existing diagnosis of diabetes is the first risk factor. Anyone in this category should ensure that they have an eye exam yearly. The longer the disease goes undiagnosed, the stronger the risk of diabetes caused blindness. Quick treatment is necessary to halting further deterioration.

Women who are pregnant that have been found to have pregnancy-related diabetes have a better likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is advisable to schedule a complete dilated eye exam after diagnosis as well.

You may be curious as to why all the panic? Wouldn’t there be tell tale symptoms if you were going blind?

Well the truth is no. There are many forms of diabetic retinopathy, and only those in the advanced phases are easily discernible. Proliferative diabetes and macular edema are diabetes caused diseases which results in extreme vision loss. Both afflictions may develop without any obvious symptoms. This is a reason that early discovery is central to preventing lasting damage.

A complete evaluation will seek out evidence of diabetic retinopathy. There are individual parts to this exam which will reveal the typical clues, such as leaky blood vessels, swelling of the retina, the presence of fatty deposits on the retina, and damaged nerve tissue. What is included in a comprehensive eye exam?

Firstly, you will get a visual acuity test by means of an eye chart that is used to check how correctly you are able to see at various distances. This is the same as the visual acuity tests given by your optometrist to see if you require corrective lenses.

While giving a dilated eye exam, the optometrist places drops in your eyes to amplify the size of your pupils. Though not a particularly beloved test by the squeamish, it can stop blindness later on. This measure makes it possible to check a larger part of the inside of your eyes to look for specific symptoms that reveal the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy. The fleeting discomfort will probably save your vision.

Regularly monitor your eye sight. Even a little complacency might cause severe deterioration. If you are diabetic, it is of the utmost importance to schedule an eye test with an optometrist without further delay.