November is Diabetes Awareness Month. The prevalence of diabetes is more common and has more complications than most people realize. According to the American Diabetes Association, as of 2015, 30.3 million Americans suffered from this disease. It is said that 1.5 million new diagnosis are made each year. Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose levels are too high. Sometimes your body does not produce enough insulin, a hormone made be the pancreas that helps your body convert glucose to energy, and as a result, glucose remains in the bloodstream, or your body may produce enough insulin but the body may be desensitized to the insulin, resulting it glucose remaining in the bloodstream. Many do not realize that higher than normal blood glucose levels can cause many health problems, not only to your body, but your eyes as well.
Diabetes affects the structures of the eye and causes a number of ocular complications including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, retinal detachments, glaucoma, bleeding, swelling and scaring in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss in adults ages 20-74. All of this is caused by the excessive blood glucose levels damaging vessels in the back of the eye, causing harm to the retina. In turn, weakening the ability of the eye to sense light and send signals to the brain to decode the world around you.
In the earlier stages, diabetic retinopathy can be treated and the progression can be slowed, which is why it is so important for diabetics to have a yearly diabetic eye exam. Feel free to contact us if you have questions concerning your eye health or if you would like to schedule an appointment.
References: “Statistics About Diabetes.” ADA, www.diabetes.org/resources/statistics/statistics-about-diabetes