Indianapolis, IN - "Given the overwhelming increase in diabetes cases, we-along with patients have to work closely with our community prevent vision loss from the complications of diabetes such as diabetic retinopathy," said Dr. Buck. Information and statistics from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that diabetes affects more than 26 million people or over 8% of the U.S. population. "What is even more significant is that seniors are particularly affected with almost 11 million or 27% of U.S. residents aged 65 years and older having diabetes," continued Dr. Buck. "What we are increasingly concerned with is that diabetes is a major risk factor for cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, which is the most severe of these three eye diseases and affects approximately 7.7 million Americans," he explained.
About Diabetic Retinopathy
More than 4 million, over 28% of people with diabetes aged 40 years or older had diabetic retinopathy, and of these, some 650-700,000 or almost 4% of all diabetics have advanced diabetic retinopathy that can result in severe vision loss. Diabetic eye disease continues to be the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults 20 to 74 years of age. Diabetic retinopathy is more than twice as common in Mexican Americans and nearly three times as common in African Americans as in non-Hispanic whites. Diabetic eye diseases can be prevented and their progression can be slowed through early detection and diligent diabetes care.
Preventing Vision Loss from Diabetes
To help us, help you prevent and avoid vision loss from diabetes and detect and diagnose diabetic retinopathy and its complications as early as possible, we ask all diabetics to take the following steps:
Get a Yearly Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam
In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy often has no symptoms. A yearly dilated eye exam allows us to examine the retina and optic nerve more thoroughly for signs of damage before changes in vision occur. Regularly monitoring eye health allows us to begin treatment as soon as possible if signs of diabetic eye disease-cataracts, glaucoma and especially diabetic retinopathy-do appear. In particular we want to alert women with diabetes who become pregnant that they may need additional eye exams throughout their pregnancy, as pregnancy can sometimes worsen diabetic retinopathy.
Maintain Normal Blood Glucose Levels
High blood glucose damages the tiny blood vessels in the eyes-called microangiopathy. This damage can result in swelling in the retina including a common diabetic vision problem called diabetic macular edema, as well as the formation of abnormal fragile blood vessels that can bleed and form scar tissue in the vitreous and retina. Also, high blood glucose levels are not good for the crystalline of your eyes. Elevated blood sugar can change the shape of lens causing blurry vision and can lead to cataract development.
Maintain Normal Blood Pressure & Cholesterol Levels
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can increase the risk of eye disease and vision loss. Keeping both under control will help the eyes as well as overall health.
Diabetics who smoke are absolutely at greater risk for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetes-related eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma. Further, we also know that smoking increases your risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD)-and that's just the eye disease risk. There is a great deal more overall vascular risk including heart disease and stroke associated with smoking."
Get Regular Exercise
Getting regular exercise, even mild exercise, helps to maintain blood glucose levels, cholesterol levels and stay healthy. We know that mild to moderate exercise is helpful in reducing the risk of many eye diseases and problems.
"We want Indiana seniors and all diabetics to take to heart that careful diabetes management is the best way to prevent vision loss. Once patients develop do diabetic eye problems we will certainly provide whatever help is necessary to deal with their vision problems including cataract surgery and lens implants, therapeutic injections of Lucentis® and Eyelea® to stop and reverse blood vessel growth and swelling in the retina and diabetic laser treatments. But, these treatments are not usually curative. Prevention is really the key to avoiding vision loss from diabetes."
Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center is conveniently located for patients seeking eye care from throughout northern Indiana. To learn more about Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center or to schedule a diabetic eye exam you may call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 866-522-3937, visit http://www.nwestindianaeyeandlaser.com or http://www.facebook.com/NWIndianaEyeandLaser or follow our eye care blog at http://indiana-eye-cataract-lasik.blogspot.com.
CONTACT: Kelley Connors, Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center, 502 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383, Phone: 866-522-3937 or email, kelley ( @ ) drsbuck dot com
SOURCE: Medical Management Services Group, L.L.C.