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November is National Diabetes Month

Diabetes is the primary causal agent of vision loss in men and women between age twenty and seventy-four. In the past four years alone, over 4 million individuals in North America suffering from diabetes were found to have blindness caused by diabetes. Out of those tested, seventy thousand suffered from severe diabetic retinopathy, which may result in irreversible loss of vision.

The big question is, how crucial is it to get tested for diabetic retinopathy?

Firstly, adults diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk. One method to find out if you have diabetic retinopathy is to have your eye doctor give you a complete eye test yearly. The longer the affliction remains unmonitored, the greater the danger of diabetes caused vision loss. Timely treatment is necessary to preventing further loss.

Pregnant women that are found to have diabetes have a stronger possibility of contracting diabetic retinopathy. It is important to schedule a complete dilated eye test after diagnosis as well.

You may be curious as to why all the panic? Won't there be obvious symptoms of sight deterioration?

The truth is, not necessarily. There are different types of diabetic retinopathy, and only those in the acute stages are easily discernible. Progressive diabetes might have no symptoms. Macular edema is another diabetes caused disease which results in severe vision deterioration. Both afflictions can develop without obvious signs. This is a reason that early detection is the key to stopping any long term injury.

A complete assessment will search for precursors of diabetic retinopathy. There are multiple stages to this exam which will detect the tell-tale symptoms, including damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, the presence of fatty deposits on the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is included in a comprehensive eye exam?

The eye doctor will perform a visual acuity examination by means of an eye chart that is used to assess how correctly you can see at varying distances. This is the same as the visual acuity exams given by your eye doctor, if you require corrective lenses.

In a dilated eye exam, the optometrist places drops in your eyes to amplify the size of your pupils. Though not a particularly beloved test by most people, it can prevent blindness further down the road. This practice makes it easier to examine more of the inside of your eyes to check for specific clues that reveal the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy. The short discomfort could save your eye sight.

When it comes to your sight, even a little laziness can cause severe damage. If you are living with diabetes, it is important to book an eye test with your eye doctor as soon as possible.