November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

We have heard the term a lot, diabetes. What is it, and what should I know about keeping my eyes healthy?

Although diabetes can affect many parts of your body, it can profoundly affect your vision. 

The most critical concern for your eyes is diabetic retinopathy. It is a condition that develops when the blood vessels in your retina become damaged. The retina is so crucial because it is the light-sensitive portion of the back of your eye. You could begin to lose your vision as the damage progresses. Some of the symptoms you could experience are blurry vision, less intense vision, and eventually loss of vision.

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics can develop diabetic retinopathy. With an early diagnosis, it is important to begin a healthy lifestyle in managing the condition. The longer someone lives with diabetes, the more likely they will develop complications, like diabetic retinopathy.

The symptoms may be silent in its early stage, or the symptoms can be mild and hard to detect. With time, the condition can lead to partial or complete blindness. See your eye doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:

*Dark or empty areas in your field of vision
*Partial or total loss of vision
*Blurry vision
*Floaters or dots and dark strings

Both eyes are typically affected equally, although a problem with just one eye does not mean you do not have it, or you could have another issue with the eye. Being proactive and having your eye-doctor examine you for early diagnosis and treatment planning is always the safest route.

Diabetes is the buildup of excess sugar in the blood. Excess sugar can cause many issues in the body, but in the eyes, too much glucose can damage the tiny vessels that supply blood to the retina. Blood flow may become blocked over time. Chronic damage to retinal blood vessels can affect your vision. Your eyes attempt to fix the situation when the blood flow is diminished by growing new blood vessels. The new vessels are not as effective or as strong as the original ones. They may also rupture or leak, which can impact your vision negatively.

There are several risk factors to be aware of: Pregnant women with diabetes, length of time with diabetes, not controlling diabetes & smoking. Patients with high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol may have an increased risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

The best treatment is early detection, which begins with an annual eye exam that includes a retinal exam. Our doctors at Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida can help you with this. Call us today at 800-282-3937 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about us visit our website EYESFL.COM.

Bio:  Dr. Terrance Hafner received his B.S. and his Doctor of Optometry Degrees from Ferris State University.  He is Board Certified in the State of Florida. Dr. Hafner practices at the Auburndale location for Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida.

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