Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Diabetes and the Eye

The occurrence of Diabetes is rapidly increasing in the United States. It has been estimated that there will be more than 30 Million diabetics in the U.S. by 2030, and there are presently 23 Million. In addition, another 57 million people are considered to have prediabetes, meaning that their blood sugar is not normal but not quite abnormal enough to make a diagnosis. Diabetes has many complications associated with it like increased heart disease, stroke risk, and a loss of sensation in your limbs causing difficulty walking. Here at Skyvision, of course, we are engaged every day in the fight against blindness caused by Diabetes.

Diabetes remains a major cause of blindness in all age groups. Diabetic retinopathy consists of abnormal blood vessels which occur where they do not belong. In time these blood vessels can leak causing swelling. The also break and bleed, sometimes filling the eye up with blood. The bleeding often causes a kind of scarring which can lead to a retinal detachment. The most effective treatment is to PREVENT DIABETIC RETINOPATHY from ever happening. Once it occurs, the treatment of all types of diabetic retinopathy is much more successful if it starts early.

Do you have diabetes? If so, what can you do to prevent yourself from going blind? There are two well-studied things you should do. First, and this is really easy, make sure you have an eye exam every year. This exam should include eyedrops that dilate your pupil. Your eye doctor should then explain any findings, and a letter should be sent to your diabetes doctor.

The other thing you can do is keep your diabetes under control! The measurements that are the most important are your morning fasting sugar level, and your Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). The safest levels according to the most recent research are a fasting sugar of 100 or below, and an HbA1c or 6.0 or lower. Your risk of diabetic retinopathy goes up by a factor of 2.5--it more than doubles--if your fasting sugars are over 108. The same holds true for your HbA1c: your risk more than doubles with a value of 6.5 rather than 6.0.

Do you have diabetes? Get an annual eye exam. Know your morning fasting sugar levels. Ask your doctor what your Hemoglobin A1c is. You CAN prevent diabetic retinopathy!

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