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November is National Diabetes Month


Are you aware that diabetes is the chief agent of vision loss among men and women between age twenty and seventy-four? In the past four years alone, over four million people in North America living with diabetes were subsequently diagnosed with diabetes related blindness. Of this group, seventy thousand were afflicted with severe diabetic retinopathy, which can result in untreatable blindness.


While not everyone is at risk of diabetic retinopathy, it is important to know the relationship between the disease and blindness.


To start, those living with diabetes are at risk. One method to learn if you have vision loss caused by diabetes is to have your eye doctor test your vision regularly. The longer the disease remains undiagnosed, the greater the danger of diabetes caused blindness. Quick treatment is vital in terms of halting further loss.


Women who are pregnant that are diagnosed with gestational diabetes have a higher possibility of contracting diabetic retinopathy. It is advisable to undergo a comprehensive dilated eye test after diagnosis as well.


You may ask yourself why all the panic? Won't there be obvious symptoms if you were losing your sight?


Well, the answer surprisingly is, not necessarily. There are many forms of diabetic retinopathy, and only those which are in the advanced stages are easily discernible. Proliferative diabetes might have no symptoms. Macular edema is another diabetes related disease which results in extreme vision loss. Both afflictions may develop with no noticeable signs. This is why early diagnosis is important to stopping any long term injury.


A complete assessment will search for symptoms of diabetic retinopathy. There are various stages to this exam which will expose the tell-tale signs, including a swelling of the retina, the existence of fatty deposits on the retina, leaky blood vessels, and damaged nerve tissue. What is included in a complete vision exam?


First of all you will undergo a visual acuity examination by means of an eye chart which is used to measure how accurately you are able to see at varying distances. This is similar to the visual acuity checks given by optometrists, if you require corrective lenses.


During a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor puts drops in your eyes to enlarge your pupils. Not a particularly beloved test by the faint of heart, but it can stop a loss of autonomy further down the road. This measure makes it easier to monitor more of the inside of your eyes to identify for specific clues that reveal the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy. The momentary discomfort will probably save your ability to see.


Take care of your eye sight. Even a little hesitation might cause irreparable damage. If you are diabetic, it is essential to schedule an eye examination with an optometrist every year.