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This Month is National Diabetes Month

Are you aware that diabetes is the dominant agent of blindness in men and women of all ages? If not, you are not alone. In the past four years alone, over 4 million men and women in North America afflicted with diabetes were found to have blindness caused by diabetes. Of this number, 70,000 suffered from advanced diabetic retinopathy, which may result in a serious blindness.

While not everyone is at risk of diabetic retinopathy, it is important to understand the connection between the disease and blindness.

Firstly, adults diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk. Anyone in this category should ensure that they have an eye exam once a year. The longer the disease goes undiagnosed, the greater the danger of diabetes related vision loss. Timely treatment will go a long way in halting further loss.

Expectant mothers that have been diagnosed with diabetes have a better possibility of contracting diabetic retinopathy. It is advisable to undergo a complete dilated eye test after diagnosis as well.

You may be curious as to why all the panic? Woouldn't there be obvious symptoms if you were going blind?

Well the answer surprisingly is, not necessarily. There are different types of diabetic retinopathy, and only those in the acute stages are noticeable. Advanced diabetes might have no signs. Macular edema is another diabetes caused disease which results in serious vision loss. Both conditions may appear with no obvious symptoms. This is a reason that early discovery is important to stopping any irreversible deterioration.

A thorough analysis will look for evidence of diabetic retinopathy. There are individual stages to this exam which will show the tell-tale symptoms, including leaky blood vessels, swelling of the retina, the presence of fatty deposits on the retina, and damaged nerve tissue. What is entailed in a complete eye exam?

The eye doctor will perform an examination of visual acuity by means of an eye chart that is used to determine how accurately you can see at different distances. This is the same as the visual acuity exams given by your optometrist, to see if you need corrective lenses.

In a dilated eye exam, the optometrist puts drops in your eyes to amplify your pupils. Though not a favorite of most people, it can stop deterioration in your sight in 10-15 years. This procedure makes it easier to examine a larger part of the interior portion of your eyes to identify for distinct clues that indicate the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy. The momentary discomfort may save your vision.

When it comes to your health, even a little hesitation can cause severe damage. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is crucial to plan an eye test with your eye doctor as soon as possible.