Aaron Parnes, M.D., Retina Specialist & Vitreoretinal Surgeon at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine cited current information about diabetic eye disease, diabetic eye problems and diabetic retinopathy as Prevent Blindness America has designated November as National Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. “The Prevent Blindness America Vision Problems in the U.S. report confirms that diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20-74 years of age. According to the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the United States. Although there is no cure for diabetic eye disease, annual eye exams for diabetes patients are essential to help slow the progression of the disease,” said Dr. Parnes.
The Prevent Blindness America Vision Problems in the U.S. identified that there are almost 8 million people ages 40 and older who have diabetic retinopathy. “This represents an 89 percent increase between the years 2000-2012,” noted Dr. Parnes. “It is terribly disturbing to see the dramatic spike in diabetic retinopathy cases, a consequence of the diabetes epidemic that we have in the U.S.,” Dr. Parnes explained.
The vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented if it's caught early and treated in time. More than one third of those diagnosed with diabetes do not adhere to vision care guidelines recommending a dilated eye exam every year. As part of Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month we are urging people with diabetes to have a dilated eye exam every year. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater his or her risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. However, diabetic retinopathy does not only affect people who have had diabetes for many years, it can also appear within the first year or two after the onset of the disease.
In addition to having regular eye examinations and testing at the direction of your eye doctor, patients can help to reduce the risk of developing diabetic eye disease by not smoking, controlling their cholesterol and lipid profile and blood pressure, as well as working to eat a heart-healthy diet rich in fish, fruit and green leafy vegetables and exercising.
If you or someone you know has diabetes or even elevated blood sugar levels they should work to prevent diabetic eye disease, diabetic eye problems and diabetic retinopathy with regular eye exams by calling Eyecare Medical Group in Portland Maine. Feel free to call us at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.