May is Healthy Vision Month! You may have heard that diabetes causes eye problems and may lead to blindness. It’s true that people with diabetes do have a higher risk of blindness than people without it, and that the disease is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
Fortunately, most people with diabetes have nothing more than minor eye disorders. With regular checkups, you can keep minor problems minor. And if you do develop a major problem, there are treatments that often work well if you begin them right away.
Earlier this month, the American Diabetes Association released new research examining the level of awareness and understanding of eye health for people who are living with diabetes. The Diabetes Eye Health Study, which was funded by a grant from Genentech and conducted by Harris Interactive®, surveyed adults in the U.S. who are currently diagnosed with diabetes, and explored their level of awareness and concern about the relationship between diabetes and eye health.
The research found that while 96 percent of those surveyed were aware that diabetes could lead to blindness, 20 percent of those have not had an eye exam in the past 12 months—demonstrating that awareness does not always drive action when it comes to eye health. The study also suggests that people diagnosed with diabetes are not always aware of the recommended care to prevent eye complications associated with their diabetes.
If you have diabetes, it is critical that you receive an annual dilated eye exam to avoid complications and lower your risk of glaucoma, cataracts and other eye problems such as diabetic macular edema. In this simple procedure, an eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil, allowing a full view of the back of the eye.
Overdue for your annual eye exam? Don’t wait until things get blurry—schedule one today.
Visit diabetes.org/eyehealth to learn more about diabetic eye complications and eye care for people with diabetes.