Welcome to November, a beautiful time of year as well as the month for Diabetic Eye Disease awareness! Eye doctors recommend routine eye exams for everyone, but for diabetics that annual exam is even more critical. Diabetic Eye Disease is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in the United States, so being knowledgeable of how to diagnose it and prevent progression can help diabetics protect their precious sight.

Diabetes affects a person’s body in many ways, but something you may not consider is the impact it has upon your eyes. The increase in a diabetic person’s blood sugar causes damage to the retina’s blood vessels and triggers a number of events to occur. Fluid leakage, inadequate oxygen delivery, swelling, or growth of new blood vessels in inappropriate areas of the retina are all potential complications of this disease that result in impairment or loss of vision.

Very often the changes resulting from Diabetic Eye Disease are so minute that a sufferer may not notice an issue until the disease has progressed dramatically. Eye doctors are able to observe the early stages of Diabetic Eye Disease by dilating the eyes and checking for microscopic damage to the blood vessels, retina, and optic nerve, often making a diagnosis before any of the typical symptoms are noticed by the patient. Eye doctors can work with you on a course of treatment and recommend adjustments to medication, nutrition, and exercise regimen to help prevent further degradation of your eye health.

Any time you notice changes to your eyesight, including blurry or cloudy vision, issues with your peripheral sight, flashing lights or spots, a feeling of pressure or outright pain you should seek medical attention, but be aware that Diabetic Eye Disease may be silently deteriorating your sight. If you are living with diabetes, make it a point to visit eye doctors at least once per year to ensure that you keep your beautiful eyes in optimal condition.