November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month
- Diabetic eye disease comprises a group of eye conditions that affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma.
- All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause severe vision loss and blindness.
- Diabetic retinopathy involves changes to retinal blood vessels that can cause them to bleed or leak fluid, distorting vision.
- Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and a leading cause of blindness among working-age adults.
- DME is a consequence of diabetic retinopathy that causes swelling in the area of the retina called the macula.
- Controlling diabetes—by taking medications as prescribed, staying physically active, and maintaining a healthy diet—can prevent or delay vision loss.
- Because diabetic retinopathy often goes unnoticed until vision loss occurs, people with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam by an optometrist at least once a year.
- Early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care of diabetic eye disease can protect against vision loss.
- Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with several therapies, used alone or in combination.
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. It can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and other health problems if it’s not controlled.
One in 11 Americans has diabetes — that’s more than 29 million people. And another 86 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The good news? People who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes can lower their risk by more than half if they make healthy changes. These changes include staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating healthfully.