Diabetes is a prevalent, costly condition associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Managing diabetes is complex and difficult from the patient’s perspective as well as the physicians. Evidence exists that shows diabetic care is suboptimal in many patient populations across the US. Unfortunately, for many, lifestyle behaviors like diet and physical activity are difficult to change, and healthy behaviors are difficult to maintain for long periods. Other obstacles include keeping up with daily medication regimens, insulin injections, and blood glucose monitoring.
Patients must be diligent in their efforts. Non-diabetics should read this and be prompted to adopt behaviors that will keep them from getting diabetes. Clearly, both patients with diabetes as well as, non-diabetics, need adequate education and social support. Because of the factors listed above, patients demonstrate varying degrees of systemic involvement including kidney and cardiovascular disease, peripheral neuropathy and diabetic eye disease. With respect to diabetic eye disease, it is imperative that patients have at minimum, a yearly eye health and vision evaluation. Facts regarding diabetic eye disease:
More Americans between the ages of 20 and 74 go blind from complications from diabetes than any other cause. Between 40% and 45% of American adults with diabetes have some form of bleeding in the retina called diabetic retinopathy. In addition, if you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to develop cataracts before the age of 60.
Diabetic retinopathy is the result of damage to the blood vessels of the retina. Retinal blood vessels become inflamed and leaky. As diabetic eye disease progresses, the blood vessels atrophy and die or dropout. As a result, the body attempts to replace the lost blood vessels with new ones however, they are abnormal. These new blood vessels will ultimately hemorrhage. This is the beginning of what can end in significant internal bleeding of the eye and potential retinal detachment.
Both men and women who have diabetes are 35% greater risk for developing glaucoma. If you have high blood pressure with diabetes, your risk for glaucoma increases to almost 50%. Diabetics are also 30% more likely to develop dry eyes. Once diabetic retinopathy occurs, the risk of dry eye increases to between 40% and 50%.
Diabetics who seek yearly eye health and vision evaluations dramatically reduce their risk of vision loss from diabetic eye disease. Cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and dry eyes are all treatable if diagnosed in a timely manner. The most important step to successful treatment is early diagnosis.
If you have diabetes and need an eye health evaluation, please contact our office in Stillwater at405-372-1715.We also encourage you to visit our website at www.cockrelleyecare.com and like us on Facebook at Cockrell Eyecare Center!