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This Month is National Diabetes Month

Did you know that living with diabetes puts you at risk for eye and vision damage? A recent study by the National Institute of Health (NIH) indicates that in individuals between 20 and 74, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness. One of the risks of diabetes is retinal damage caused by increased pressure in the blood vessels of the eye, which is called diabetic retinopathy. This condition is a particularly serious complication of the disease and it has affected over 3.7 million people in the U.S. since 2002.

Early on, diabetic retinopathy often presents no noticeable symptoms. When the pressure in the blood vessels in the retina builds up they start to leak causing retinal damage. This damage will result in eventual blindness if it is not treated.

Warning signs of developing diabetic retinopathy include fluctuating vision, eye floaters and spots, the development of a shadow in your field of view, blurry vision, corneal abnormalities, double vision, eye pain and near vision problems that have nothing to do with presbyopia. In addition to diabetic retinopathy, diabetics are at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma.

With early diagnosis and treatment, we can reduce loss of vision. In addition to making sure to schedule a regular eye exam once a year if you are diabetic, keeping your glucose levels under control is essential to keeping your eyes healthy.

This month, spread awareness of the risks of diabetic eye disease and speak to your eye doctor to discuss questions or concerns. In this case, ignorance could cost you your precious eyesight

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