Diabetes may be a fairly common—and manageable—disease, especially in the United States. But it is also a very serious disease that can result in loss of limb as well as loss of vision. As diabetes is currently on the rise, so also is a side effect of the disease that doesn’t get talked about much: blindness. In fact, diabetic eye disease has become one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness in America.
Diabetes and blindness can be a scary combination, but Dr. Fruchtman is here to help maintain your best vision possible—no matter what your health circumstance may be.
Diabetic eye disease can include many disorders that can lead to blindness.
Diabetic retinopathy, which damages the blood vessels in the retina (has 4 stages)
Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), fluid accumulating in the macula
Cataract, a clouding of the eye lens
Glaucoma, an increase of fluid pressure inside the eye that creates optic nerve damage and eventual loss of eyesight
According to recent studies, adults with diabetes are 2–5 times more likely to develop a cataract than those without diabetes. And you can also develop a cataract at a much younger age. In addition, 40–45 percent of Americans who have diabetes will experience diabetic retinopathy, and many of those people won’t yet know they have it.
Our Recommendations for Diabetic Patients Because diabetes and blindness go hand in hand, we instruct our patients with diabetes to take extra caution when it comes to their eyesight. Dr. Fruchtman advises those patients with type 2 diabetes receive a dilated eye exam once a year. If you have type 1 diabetes, then he suggests having a dilated eye exam every five years. Pregnant women who have diabetes or gestational diabetes (a temporary condition) are highly encouraged to visit their optometrist within the first three months of pregnancy, then as needed thereafter.
Along with regular eye exams, it’s also important for diabetic patients to maintain a healthy diet that includes regular exercise and steady monitoring of blood glucose (sugar) levels. The more educated you become about diabetes, the more successful you will be at managing this disease in your everyday life.
Other Eye Diseases that Cause Blindness While diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the US, it is certainly not the only cause. There are several other eye diseases and other health issues and accidents that can cause gradual or near instant blindness.
Retinal vascular occlusion
Your sight is so important. Of all the five senses—sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste—sight is possibly the most important in terms of daily functioning and retaining your quality of life. Our job is to help maintain your best eyesight possible—for as long as possible. If you experience anything unusual concerning your eyesight, please contact us immediately. Some situations can wait for an appointment the same day or next day, while other problems may require immediate attention. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your eyesight. We’d rather you be extra careful than to wait too long.