Unfortunately, yes! Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults ages 20-74 in the U.S. African Americans are two times more likely to have diabetic eye disease than Caucasian patients. Despite the risk of vision loss, only about half of people with diabetes follow the recommendation to receive a dilated eye exam every year.
A dilated eye exam involves dilating the pupils with drops so the physician can get a detailed look at the retina inside the eye. The physician will be looking for damage to the small blood vessels in the back of the eye, also called diabetic retinopathy. Dilation does not hurt but can make a person’s vision blurry for a few hours afterwards.
Successful management of diabetic eye disease includes early diagnosis, tight blood sugar and blood pressure control, and sometimes medical or surgical treatment to the eye to prevent severe vision loss.
If you have diabetes and are experiencing blurry, streaky, or double vision, or floating spots and have not had your eyes examined in the past year, please schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. With early treatment, it is less likely that you will be blinded by diabetes.
To schedule an appointment with myself or another Ophthalmologist at Medical West, call (205) 481-7870 or visit medicalwesthospital.org .
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