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Eye Examinations and Diabetes

POSTED ON October 8, 2010

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Diabetes is a silent disease and killer.  Did you know that diabetes kills more than breast cancer and AIDS combined? Or that since 1987 according to the American Diabetes Association the death rate due to diabetes has increased by 45% while the death rates due to heart disease, stroke, and cancer have declined?  Did you know that diabetes is a leading cause of blindness in American adults? I didn’t.  I also didn’t know that 13.6% of Hoosier adults have diabetes.  This is a serious disease ...

Diabetes is a silent disease and killer.  Did you know that diabetes kills more than breast cancer and AIDS combined? Or that since 1987 according to the American Diabetes Association the death rate due to diabetes has increased by 45% while the death rates due to heart disease, stroke, and cancer have declined?  Did you know that diabetes is a leading cause of blindness in American adults?

I didn’t.  I also didn’t know that 13.6% of Hoosier adults have diabetes.  This is a serious disease to contend with, a disease that affects the entire body and even lifestyle of those who have it.   Diabetes is a chronic disease without a cure.  But I learned it is also preventable for instance with proper eye care.

I found that dilated eye examinations and children’s eye exams by eye care doctors are an important way diabetics can manage their symptoms and those of us can detect if we have the disease or are at risk.  Twenty percent of adults with diabetes have diabetic retinopathy which is the most common diabetic eye problem.  Diabetic retinopathy occurs when blood vessels in the retina swell or grow causing vision to be difficult according to the National Eye Institute (NEI).  It can be detected with a dilated eye examination as well as high blood pressure, a known symptom of the disease.

I think these pictures from the NEI do a much better job explaining what vision is like for diabetics with vision problems.  The first is normal vision, the second vision of someone with diabetic retinopathy.

Normal Vision; Photo courtesy of: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/diabetic/retinopathy.asp Vision with diabetic retinopathy; Photo courtesy of: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/diabetic/retinopathy.asp

Each year in Indiana, 153 new cases of legal blindness and 52 new cases of visual impairment are reported from those who are diabetic.  Glasses and lenses can help diabetics manage their vision but not save it if symptoms persist.  The silence of diabetes and its symptoms formulate it to be truly deadly making eye examinations and other health check-ups extremely vital for those at risk for the disease.

Are you or is a family member at risk? Talk to a Dr. Tavel eye care doctor today.

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