The mild inconvenience of seeing floaters or blank spots in vision is something that just about everyone can relate to, but the underlying causes can vary widely. In certain cases, those symptoms are accompanied by blurred vision, pain, and even bleeding in the retina—as seen in diabetic retinopathy—a condition involving high blood sugar that damages blood vessels.
Something that’s hardly a common occurrence, but it’s prevalent enough among more than seven million Americans. The National Eye Institute suggests those who have been pre-diabetes or diabetes prepare to take the right steps to prevent further vision problems down the line.
Hindsight, in this instance, is about as far from 20/20 as you can get.
Good thing the 2019 calendar has hit November for an annual reminder of Diabetic Eye Disease Month.
How’s your health looking?
Currently, diabetes has singled as out as the leading cause of blindness among Americans of working age. Turns out that most can turn the tables on diabetic eye disease by working to control blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. As well as doing more to eat right, exercise, lose weight, and quit smoking.
Naturally, there is more incentive to avoid the slow and steady build-up to illness. People who look the other way may live to see severe vision loss and blindness when elevated blood sugar levels cause pressure in the small blood vessels in the back of the eyes.
Three ways to prevent diabetic retinopathy
- Early detection and intervention—screening for changes in vision and taking appropriate steps in response can help more than 90 percent of diabetics to keep their eyesight. Think of it as part of an annual health maintenance plan, with the month “November” circled for just such an occasion.
- Be the “eyes” for a friend in need—routine eye tests for diabetes-linked conditions require dilating the eyes to make the pupils larger, which is great for the doctor’s ability to examine the retina, blood vessels, and optic nerve. Not-s0-great for driving home afterward.
- Share the news on social media—getting the word out to your friends and family is an excellent starting point to begin the conversation about diabetic eye disease. More importantly, it impacts people of color in greater numbers given their predisposition to develop Type 2 diabetes over their Caucasian counterparts.
Before a cause for concern becomes a cause for alarm
If you have a blurry or frequently changing vision, experience dark areas of vision, or flashes of flight, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends a visit to the doctor. By and large, those who are at-risk for diabetic retinopathy may have an equal concern about developing cataracts and glaucoma over time.
The National Eye Institute reports cases of diabetic eye disease may climb to 11 million by 2030. And yet, that number isn’t written in stone. At Benzer Pharmacy, we’re here to help curb the trend through a dedicated program of education and onsite patient counseling services.
See it our way, and you’ll be glad you did.