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 can include daily medication regimens, insulin injections, and blood glucose monitoring that can be complex and uncomfortable.  Not to mention the substantial time and money needed to manage diabetes.

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.  As a result of the factors listed above, patients often demonstrate varying degrees of systemic involvement such as 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.

  • 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 caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, retinal blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina ultimately causing hemorrhaging and many times, retinal detachment is the end result.
  • Both men and women who have diabetes are 35% greater risk for developing If you have high blood pressure along with diabetes your risk for glaucoma rises 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 and treated early and aggressively.  The most important step to successful treatment is early diagnosis.

If you have diabetes and would like an eye health evaluation, please contact our offices in Stillwater at 405-372-1715 or Pawnee at 918-762-2573.  We also encourage you to visit our website at www.cockrelleyecare.com and like us on Facebook at Cockrell Eyecare Center!

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