A Dilated Eye Exam is Key to Early Detection

For most of us, our eyesight is not the first thing that comes to mind when we think about diabetes. But actually, diabetes is the number one cause for new cases of blindness among American adults.1 Check out this video to learn how routine eye exams can help detect and minimize vision-related complications early on.

1American Optometric Association

Did You Know

4.4 million Americans age 40+ are affected by Diabetic Retinopathy. Diabetic Retinopathy causes 12,000+ new cases of blindness every year. If you have diabetes, you are 40% more likely to develop Glaucoma. If you have diabetes, you are 60% more likely to develop Cataracts. Close monitoring of Diabetic Retinopathy can reduce the likelihood of vision complications.

Your Questions Answered

What is Diabetic Eye Disease?
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Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication of this disease. All can cause severe vision loss or even blindness.

Diabetic eye disease includes:

  • Diabetic retinopathy: Damage to the blood vessels in the retina.
  • Cataract: Clouding of the lens of the eye.
  • Glaucoma: Increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and loss of vision.
What is the most common Diabetic Eye Disease?
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Diabetic retinopathy. This disease is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, retinal blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. These changes may result in vision loss or blindness.

What are the signs and symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?
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In its earliest stages, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms. The initial symptoms may be barely noticeable or mild. Over time, the condition can worsen and lead to partial and then complete blindness.

You should see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • floaters, or dots and dark strings, in your field of vision
  • dark or empty areas in your field of vision
  • blurry vision
  • difficulty focusing
  • vision changes that seem to fluctuate
  • altered color vision
  • partial or total vision loss
Who is most likely to get Diabetic Retinopathy?
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Anyone with diabetes. The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely he or she will get diabetic retinopathy. Between 40-45 percent of those with diagnosed diabetes have some degree of diabetic retinopathy.

Is diabetic retinopathy curable?
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No. Early treatment can slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy, but is not likely to reverse any vision loss.

Stay Healthy and Happy Learn How Diabetes Affects Vision

If you're one of the more than 29 million Americans with diabetes,2 you know how important it is to take good care of yourself—monitoring your blood sugar, watching your diet, taking your medication, exercising. But if you haven't yet added an annual eye exam to your routine, you should. Annual, comprehensive eye exams can help detect changes in your vision early on, enabling prompt referral and treatment that can lessen the risk of vision loss.

2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014.

See even more

Vision Issues by Age
Vision and Diabetes
What is Diabetic Retinopathy
Are you at risk of Diabetic Retinopathy
Why you should have Vision Insurance
What Is Retinal Imaging