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Home » News and Events » Learn About Diabetic Retinopathy and Loss of Eyesight During National Diabetes Month

Diabetes is the number one causal 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 afflicted with diabetes were diagnosed with blindness caused by diabetes. Of this group, seventy thousand suffered from severe diabetic retinopathy, which can result in a complete loss of vision.

The big question is, should everyone be examined for diabetic retinopathy?

To start, those living with diabetes are at risk. Anyone in this category should ensure that they have an eye exam regularly. The longer the affliction goes unchecked, the stronger the risk of diabetes caused vision loss. Speedy treatment is necessary to preventing further damage.

Women who are expecting that have been afflicted with gestational diabetes have a stronger likelihood of contracting diabetic retinopathy. It is important to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam after diagnosis as well.

You may wonder why all the panic? Wouldn't there be obvious symptoms of blindness?

The answer shockingly is, not always. There are several sorts of diabetic retinopathy, and only those which are in the severe stages are noticeable. Proliferative diabetes can have no symptoms. Macular edema is another diabetes caused disease which results in severe vision deterioration. Both conditions may develop with no noticeable signs. This is a reason that early discovery is essential to halting any irreparable loss.

A comprehensive assessment will seek out indications 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 existence 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 measure how accurately you see at different distances. This is just like the visual acuity exams given by your eye doctor, should you need glasses.

In a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor puts drops in your eyes to widen the size of your pupils. Though not a particularly beloved test by the faint of heart, it can prevent a loss of autonomy further down the road. This method makes it feasible to monitor a larger part of the inside of your eyes to look for distinct signs that imply the presence of diabetic retinopathy. The cursory discomfort will probably save your vision.

When it comes to your eye sight, even a little complacency can result in serious loss. If you have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it is important to schedule an eye exam with an optometrist without further delay.