DAYTON — In an ongoing effort to help educate the public on diabetes risk factors and prevention strategies, Prevent Blindness has declared November as ‘Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month.’
Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults. The National Eye Institute reports that diabetics are 25 times more likely to become blind than people without the disease. But when detected early, the blinding effects of diabetes can be lessened.
According to a recent study from Prevent Blindness, more than 8 million Americans have diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease. By 2032, that number is projected to increase by 35 percent.
Those suffering from the disease may not experience any symptoms at first. However, as the disease progresses, patience experience a variety of symptoms including spots in the field of vision, varying blurred vision, and complete vision loss.
“With diabetes reaching epidemic levels across the US, Prevent Blindness urges everyone to get a dilated eye exam annually or as often as your eye health care professional recommends,” says Katie Neubert, the Dayton Area Manager of Prevent Blindness. “Eye care professionals can detect diabetes in its early stages, sometimes even before the patient has any idea.”
Diabetics are at risk of developing diabetic eye disease that can permanently damage their vision and even lead to blindness. Some factors can put some at higher risk for vision loss, include, age, ethnicity, duration of the disease, blood sugar control, hypertension, kidney disease and pregnancy.
“For those already diagnosed with diabetes, a doctor can help monitor vision and advise you of the necessary steps to take today to help lessen the impact that the disease may have on your sight,” Neubert says.
Prevent Blindness offers a variety of free resources dedicated to the education of diabetic eye disease including its dedicated website, preventblindness.org/diabetes. For more information contact Dayton Area Prevent Blindness by calling (937) 223-8766.