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November is National Diabetes Month


Are you aware that diabetes is the number one agent of vision loss among men and women aged 20-74 years? In the past four years alone, over 4 million men and women in North America living with diabetes were tested positive for blindness caused by diabetes. Of this group, seventy thousand suffered from acute diabetic retinopathy, which may result in total blindness.


The million dollar question is, should everyone get tested for diabetic retinopathy?


Firstly, individuals diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk. One method to find out if you have diabetes related vision loss is to have your eye care professional give you a complete eye test once a year. The longer the affliction goes unmonitored, the greater the risk of diabetes caused vision loss. Speedy treatment will go a long way in preventing further deterioration.


Pregnant women that are diagnosed with pregnancy-related diabetes have a higher likelihood of contracting diabetic retinopathy. It is advisable to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam after diagnosis as well.


So why all the worry? Wouldn't there be obvious symptoms of sight deterioration?


The answer shockingly is, not necessarily. There are many sorts of diabetic retinopathy, and only those in the severe phases are easily discernible. Advanced diabetes might have no signs. Macular edema is another diabetes related disease which results in serious vision loss. Both conditions may develop without any obvious symptoms. This is why early recognition is critical to stopping any irreparable loss.


A thorough test will discern precursors of diabetic retinopathy. There are various steps to this exam which will expose the tell-tale symptoms, including damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, the existence of fatty deposits on the retina, and leaky blood vessels. Want to know what are the steps in a complete eye test?


Firstly, you will get a visual acuity exam by means of an eye chart which is used to check how accurately you are able to see at various distances. This is the same as the visual acuity tests given by your eye doctor, to see if you need glasses.


While giving a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor places drops in your eyes to widen your pupils. Not a particularly beloved test by the squeamish, the dilated eye exam can prevent a loss of autonomy later on. This step makes it easier to check a larger section of the interior portion of your eyes to check for specific signs that show the presence of diabetic retinopathy. The short discomfort will probably save your vision.


It is important to value your health. Even a little laziness might cause irreparable deterioration. If you have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it is imperative to plan an eye examination with your optometrist today.

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