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Monday, December 9, 2013
If you have diabetes, you should have a complete eye exam each year. You could have an eye disease due to diabetes and not know it. Eye diseases due to diabetes include:
To tell if you have an eye disease due to diabetes, the doctor will have to dilate your pupils. This exam can find eye problems caused by chronic diseases such as:
For some people, an eye disease is one of the first signs that they have diabetes. Many times there are no early warning signs. In fact, most people do not realize that their vision is slowly getting worse. Finding and treating eye disease due to diabetes early can prevent vision loss 95 percent of the time.
Keeping your blood sugar levels as normal as possible can help to:
People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to become blind than those who do not have diabetes. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to get an eye disease due to diabetes. Blindness caused by diabetes is highest among African-Americans and Latinos.
In addition to controlling your blood sugar levels and having an eye exam every year, you can take the following steps to protect your eyesight:
Older adults with diabetes can get help from Medicare. Medicare helps pay for diabetes self-testing equipment and supplies.
If you have Medicare and are diabetic, you also qualify for the Medicare glaucoma screening benefit every year. This benefit includes an overall eye exam. This way each year you can have an eye exam that checks for glaucoma and problems with the retina of your eyes -- or diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness for 20-74 year olds. But you can prevent eye disease due to diabetes from stealing your vision! Make sure you see your medical doctor and eye doctor at least every year to protect your eye health.
Many research studies are underway to help us learn about eye diseases. Would you like to find out more about being part of this exciting research? Please visit the following links:
This article is a NetWellness exclusive.
Last Reviewed: Jul 20, 2012
Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO
Professor Emeritus of Clinical Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University