Many Americans cope daily with the life-changing effects of diabetes. This condition causes blindness in working-age Americans more than any other disease. There are 29 million adults in this country who are affected by diabetes. Nearly a third of them are not even aware that they have it. This is why November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that occurs when blood vessels in the retina are damaged as a result of high blood sugar levels. Many people do not have any symptoms at first and may only experience mild changes in vision. If the problem is not addressed, it may lead to blindness.
Patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at risk. The longer the condition exists without controlling blood sugar levels, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy.
Am I at risk for diabetes?
Anyone can be diagnosed with diabetes. It’s a condition that primarily affects people over 40 years of age. The older you get, the greater the risk will be. Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and Asians are more likely to develop diabetes. You may also be at risk if you:
- Are overweight
- Live a sedentary lifestyle
- Have relatives with diabetes
How Do I Protect My Vision from Diabetic Retinopathy?
If you do not currently have diabetes, the best thing you can do for your vision is to live a healthy and active lifestyle. You should also schedule annual screenings to ensure that an eye condition doesn’t go undiagnosed. If you have questions about diabetic retinopathy or are in need of a dilated eye exam call today to schedule an appointment!