The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 30.3 million Americans — nearly 10% of the country’s population — live with diabetes. Another 84.1 million Americans have prediabetes, and many of these cases will turn into type 2 diabetes. In addition to affecting blood sugar levels, diabetes can also have devastating effects on your ocular health.
There are multiple types of diabetes, but all involve the body’s ability to produce or use insulin to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. High blood sugar can cause damage in many parts of the body, including the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels. When blood vessels in the eyes are damaged, vision loss can occur.
Diabetic eye disease is a blanket term for specific diabetes-related eye diseases. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes increase the risk of many conditions. The eye diseases most commonly associated with diabetes are:
Those with diabetes should strictly follow the instructions of their optometrist or ophthalmologist to effectively combat permanent vision loss. Here are some key guidelines to follow:
Maintaining healthy glucose levels and blood pressure lowers the risk of diabetic retinopathy developing and progressing. As a result, you should keep at the top of your mind the importance of maintaining good glycosylated hemoglobin levels, serum lipids, and blood pressure.
The key to preventing permanent vision loss is early detection. The CDC states that about 90% of vision loss related to diabetes can be prevented. Regular comprehensive eye exams are key to catching eye disease related to diabetes. During comprehensive eye exams, optometrists or ophthalmologists can examine the eye for signs of disease before symptoms appear, when diseases are most treatable. Comprehensive eye exams need to occur prior to the onset of vision loss and should be performed once a year for patients with diabetes.
Dr. Tonks is a primary care optometrist with the Marietta Eye Clinic who specializes in ocular disease and provides ocular surgery co-management. She earned her doctor of optometry from Indiana University before completing a residency in ocular disease at the Huntington VA Medical Center. She is both a member of the American Optometric Association and the Greater Atlanta Optometric Association. Read more about Dr. Tonks in her bio.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. It describes itself as a “global community of 32,000 medical doctors who protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public.” Its website is a great resource to learn more about how to care for your eyes.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) describes itself as the leading authority on quality care and an advocate for our nation’s health, representing more than 44,000 doctors of optometry (O.D.), optometric professionals, and optometry students.
Diabetic Eye Disease
New CDC report: More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes
Screening for Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic Retinopathy PPP – Updated 2017
When it comes to your eyes, nothing beats a face-to-face consultation with one of our eye doctors. Request an appointment to meet with one of our specialists.
Call Us: 770-427-8111
Text Us: 770-427-0400Request Appointment