November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, and Lehmann Eye Center is encouraging East Texans with diabetes to learn more about the preventative measures they can take to protect their eyesight from the disease's debilitating effects.
"If you have diabetes, don't wait until you notice an eye problem to have dilated eye exam," Dr. Robert Lehmann said. "The longer you have diabetes, the greater your risk of vision problems. Early detection and treatment is vital, because once vision is gone, it usually can't be restored."
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans. Approximately 5.3 million Americans age 18 and older are affected by diabetic retinopathy, a potentially blinding condition in which the blood vessels inside the retina become damaged from high blood sugar levels. Diabetes can cause cataracts at a younger age and double the chances of developing glaucoma.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40 percent of Americans will develop diabetes during their lifetime. The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that 29 million Americans age 20 or older have diabetes, but almost one-third of those don't know it. Early symptoms often go unnoticed, and vision problems may not be detected until the disease is severe and less easily treated.
Diabetic eye disease cannot be cured, but early diagnosis and strict maintenance of blood sugar levels can help slow its development. Ophthalmologists offer a number of treatments to stop or reduce vision loss. These treatments are only effective if the disease is detected early enough, so annual comprehensive dilated eye exams are extremely important for people who have been diagnosed with or may be in danger of developing diabetes.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, schedule a complete dilated eye examination with Lehmann Eye Center by calling 936-569-8278. Make an appointment promptly if you experience blurred vision and/or floaters that affect only one eye, last more than a few days and are not associated with a change in blood sugar.