Diabetes is a chronic disease in which your body’s ability to either produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired. This causes abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose (sugar) in both the blood and urine.
More than 100 million adults in the USA have either diabetes or pre diabetes. Over 30 million Americans or 9.4% of the population have diabetes. Many people are not aware that they have diabetes.
Most cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented. Lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise can reduce your chances of becoming a diabetic. Complications can include blindness, non-traumatic amputations, loss of sensation in your hands or feet and problems with your kidneys requiring dialysis. You are more likely to have type 2 diabetes if you are overweight.
Diabetic Eye Exams
If you are a diabetic you should have a yearly dilated eye examination. Many people may be reluctant to come to an ophthalmologist because they think their medical insurance will not pay for the examination. Medical insurance will cover the eye examination, in fact they encourage it.
If we see changes in your eye from diabetes, Dr. Cindy Wang and I may recommend special photographs of the back of the eye to determine the extent of the changes. We will also recommend more frequent eye examinations to monitor the diabetic eye changes. It is important to maintain regular follow up care. Controlling your blood sugar can reduce your chances of diabetic related complications.
If your diabetic eye disease progresses, you may need treatments to help maintain your vision. Treatment may be indicated if you have swelling in the center of the vision (diabetic macular edema) or if you have blood vessels growing that are not supposed to be there (proliferative diabetic retinopathy). Treatment options may include injections of medications into the eye and/or laser eye treatments. The purpose of the treatments are to help you maintain your vision. If your diabetic retinopathy is not adequately treated, you could lose your vision. It can cause permanent blindness. It is important to come in for regularly scheduled appointments to reduce the chances of vision loss.