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Why Diabetes Awareness Month is So Important for Eye Health

November marks Diabetes Awareness Month and that means it’s time to talk about how diabetes can affect our eyes. Diabetic eye disease is a broad term which includes numerous conditions that increase the risk of vision loss, including diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma. The good news is that the earlier these conditions are detected and managed, the better chance you have of preserving your vision.

Diabetes increases your risk for a number of eye diseases because it can damage blood vessels in your retina, which is a thin layer of tissue in the back of your eye. Damage to these vessels can lead to vision problems like blurry vision or even blindness. This is why regular comprehensive dilated eye exams are so important for people with diabetes. During an exam, an ophthalmologist can detect signs of diabetic retinopathy and other forms of diabetic eye disease early on, which allows them to provide prompt treatment before any permanent damage occurs.

Early detection and treatment is the best way to prevent severe vision loss from diabetes-related eye diseases. If caught in its early stages, many forms of diabetic retinopathy can be treated with laser surgery or other treatments designed to reduce swelling and stop bleeding in the retina. In addition, there are also medications available that can help manage DME as well as certain types of glaucoma caused by diabetes.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month—the perfect time to make sure you know how diabetes affects your eyesight! Diabetes increases the risk for several different vision-threatening diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, DME, cataracts, and glaucoma—all of which can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated or undiagnosed. That’s why it's so important for those with diabetes to get regular comprehensive dilated eye exams from an ophthalmologist; early detection gives you the best chance at preserving your vision!  Taking care of your eyes now means better sight into the future!