Eye Care for Patients With Diabetes

Sometimes, we take our vision for granted. We pick up a newspaper, magazine or book to read without hesitation. We head read labels on prescriptions or food products without a second thought or glance.

When our vision starts to fail, we realize that every moment of each day depends on the use of our eyes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3.3 million Americans aged 40 years and older are either legally blind or have low vision. In the United States, age-related eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma are the leading causes.

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also indicates that diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults in the United States. According to the organization’s National Diabetes Statistics, 2011, diabetes affects 25.8 million people of all ages or 8.3% of the U.S. population. Approximately 18.8 million people are aware that they have diabetes, but 7 million remain undiagnosed.

Diabetes-Related Vision Complications

Blindness and eye problems are areas of particular concern for diabetic patients. Here are some of the specific the reasons:

● Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults who are 20 to 74 years old.

● In 2005 to 2008, 4.2 million (or 28.5%, of those with diabetes) who were 40 years or older had diabetic retinopathy.

● Of the preceding number of patients with diabetic retinopathy, 655,000 (or 4.4% of those with diabetes) had advanced diabetic retinopathy, which could lead to severe vision loss.

Steps to Protect Your Eye Health

If you have diabetes, you can actively protect the health of your eyes. The following are some important steps to help protect your vision:

● Monitor your blood glucose and blood pressure regularly to ensure that the readings are normal.

● Schedule an annual eye care exam with a professional ophthalmologist to detect eye problems, such as cataracts and glaucoma, at early stages.

● If you need treatment, start immediately to prevent further complications.

● Do not begin to smoke, or stop now.

The experienced ophthalmologists and optometrists at East Side Eye Associates (212-861-6200) and Tribeca Eye Associates (212-693-7200) specialize in all of these conditions. To improve your vision while you work at your computer, call us now.