Did you know that the leading causes of blindness among working age adults, may also be one of the most preventable eye diseases? November is Diabetes and Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Diabetic Retinopathy, one of the eye diseases associated with diabetes, is the leading cause of blindness among working age adults, according to the National Eye Institute (NEI). In fact, NEI also reports that between 40%-45% of individuals with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy, yet only half that number are aware of it!
During a recent Eschenbach webinar hosted by low vision doctor, Lynne P. Noon, OD, for Eschenbach Optik of America, Dr. Noon shared statistics that highlighted the increase of patients with vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. She reported that in recent years, the number of patients with diabetic retinopathy is approaching the number of patients with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Much of this increase was attributed to the increased rate of obesity and subsequent increase on the prevalence of Type II Diabetes.
How common is diabetes? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that 9.3% of all Americans have diabetes—that is nearly 1 person out of 10, or just over 29 million people in the United State alone! In addition, nearly 1/3 of the people with diabetes are undiagnosed!
Preventing vision loss from diabetic eye disease begins with early diagnosis of diabetes, and a comprehensive dilated eye exam to look for signs of diabetic eye diseases. Anyone with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam once a year.
Consider this, according to the National Eye Institute, detecting and treating diabetic eye disease early reduces the risk of blindness by 95%! What’s your vision worth to you?
If you experience a vision loss from diabetic eye disease be sure to ask the eye doctor about a follow-up with a low vision doctor, ;ow vision therapist and a vision rehabilitation therapist, to maximize your remaining vision and teach teach you new techniques for daily living tasks using your remaining vision. To find these services near you, check out the American Foundation for the Blind Directory of Services.
To learn more about Diabetic Eye Diseases, check out Maureen Duffy’s comprehensive article, November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month: Learn More About Diabetes and Your Eyes.