Each November, Gulfcoast Eye Care is proud to do its part in spreading awareness about diabetes and the dangers it can pose to both eye health and overall health. In addition to the heightened risk of serious general health concerns, diabetes significantly increases the risk of developing certain types of eye conditions, including glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic eye disease. To bring attention to the National Eye Institute’s National Diabetes Month and Diabetic Eye Disease Month program, the eye doctors at Gulfcoast Eye Care are spreading awareness about the importance of having regular eye exams and to immediately seek the help of an ophthalmologist if you notice any problems with your vision. This is particularly important for diabetics and those who are at risk for diabetes. Diabetes and diabetic eye disease often do not display overt symptoms in their early stages, which makes it crucial to have regular tests for these conditions.
29 million people in America suffer from diabetes, and 86 million are at risk for the condition. A large percentage of diabetics who are 40 years of age and older have diabetic retinopathy, a progressive eye condition that can lead to total vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common diabetes-related eye diseases, and it is the leading cause of blindness among American individuals of working-age. High blood-sugar levels can impact blood vessels in the eyes, causing the retina to leak fluid or blood. This can ultimately lead to serious vision impairment and even retinal detachment. An eye exam can identify irregularities as early as possible, allowing our retina specialist, Dr. Jason Handza, to create a customized treatment plan to slow the progression of the disease and potentially save your vision.
We recommend that diabetics have at least one dilated eye exam each year, and that women who are pregnant be sure to have one in their first trimester (pregnancy can cause diabetic retinopathy to develop much faster). If you have questions about diabetes-related eye diseases, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, we encourage you to contact our practice today.