In California alone, approximately 2.3 million people suffer from diabetes. In addition to the overall health effects that can be caused by diabetes, both of the major forms of this condition, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, can lead to diabetic retinopathy, one of the most common causes of blindness among adults living in the United States. If you have diabetes, and/or if you have a family history of diabetic retinopathy, regular eye exams are absolutely critical to reduce the risk of devastating – and permanent – vision loss.
Adults and children aged 10 and older who have type 1 diabetes should have an eye exam as soon as they have been diagnosed, and individuals with type 2 diabetes should also have an eye evaluation soon after they have been diagnosed with the condition. Dilated eye exams should be performed at least once each year thereafter. These important exams can identify telltale signs of diabetic retinopathy, such as changes in the blood vessels in and around the retina. If left untreated, leakage from these blood vessels, or the formation of new blood vessels, can result in vision impairment, retinal detachment, and even blindness.
Remember, early stages of diabetic retinopathy often present no overt symptoms; or, they may present symptoms that seem to go away after a period of time, leading to a false sense that nothing is wrong. With regular eye exams, prevention measures, and treatment options available at Gordon Schanzlin New Vision Institute, you can go a long way toward decreasing the risk of progressive vision loss and serious, life-altering vision impairment.