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."
Diabetic retinopathy occurs in more than half of the people who develop diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is 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.
The Center for Disease Control estimates more than 29 million Americans have diabetes and nearly one-third of those with the disease don't know they have it. Early symptoms often go unnoticed, and vision problems may not be detected until the disease has become severe.
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.
Diabetic retinopathy symptoms may include:
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, schedule a complete dilated eye examination with Lehmann Eye Center by calling 936-569-8278.