Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness for working-age Americans. In the United States, approximately 29 million people age 20 and over have diabetes. Nearly one-third don’t know they have the disease.
November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. During November we want to raise awareness about the importance of monitoring your eye health when you have diabetes. Early symptoms often go unnoticed so it is very important to have a full dilated eye exam at least annually to watch for diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma.
The most common of the diabetic eye diseases is diabetic retinopathy which affects 5.3 million Americans age 18 and older according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This condition results from blood vessels inside the retina getting damaged by high blood sugar levels leading to fluids leaking in the retina and obstructing blood flow, potentially causing severe vision loss.
Perhaps you or someone you know is now living with both diabetes and diabetic retinopathy—an occurrence that will grow even more common as the nation’s retirement-aged population increases. If so, then be sure to check out the resources at Society for the Blind, which helps adults who are losing their sight continue to live full and independent lives by providing timely information, step-by-step daily living techniques, support groups, and a low vision clinic to provide assistance in managing these conditions.