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November is National Diabetes Month


Diabetes is the primary causal agent of blindness of men and women aged 20-74 years. In just the last four years, over 4 million people in North America afflicted with diabetes were found to have diabetes related blindness. Of this group, seventy thousand had advanced diabetic retinopathy, which can result in total loss of vision.


Exactly, how necessary is it to be examined for diabetic retinopathy?


Firstly, adults diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk. The best way to learn if you have diabetic retinopathy is to have your optometrist test your vision regularly. The longer the affliction remains undiagnosed, the stronger the danger of diabetes related vision loss. Quick treatment is vital in terms of preventing further damage.


Pregnant women that are found to have diabetes have a greater risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is crucial to have a comprehensive dilated eye examination after diagnosis as well.


You may wonder why all the panic? Won't there be symptoms if you were going blind?


The answer surprisingly is no. There are different forms of diabetic retinopathy, and only those which are in the advanced phases are easily discernible. Progressive diabetes might have no signs. Macular edema is another diabetes related disease which results in extreme blindness. Both conditions may develop with no obvious signs. This is why early detection is critical to stopping any lasting deterioration.


A complete evaluation will check for precursors of diabetic retinopathy. There are various phases to this exam which will show the standard signs, such as a swelling of the retina, the existence of fatty deposits on the retina, leaky blood vessels, and damaged nerve tissue. What is included in a complete eye exam?


First of all you will undergo a visual acuity exam by means of an eye chart which is used to check how accurately you can see at different distances. This is similar to the visual acuity checks given by optometrists to see if you require corrective lenses.


To give a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor places drops in your eyes to enlarge your pupils. Although most people do not enjoy it, this part of the eye exam can save you loss of vision further down the road. This step makes it feasible to see a larger part of the interior portion of your eyes to look for distinct clues that show the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy. The cursory discomfort will probably save your eye sight.


Take care of your sight. Even a little complacency can cause irreparable loss. If you are living with diabetes, it is crucial to book a vision exam with an optometrist once a year without fail.