NJ Retina Specialist Milton Kahn, M.D. of The Eye Care & Surgery Center reviewed information about diabetic eye disease and diabetic eye problems as Prevent Blindness America has designated November as National Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. “The most recent Prevent Blindness America Vision Problems in the U.S. report identified that diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20-74 years of age. This is compounded by data from the Centers for Disease Control indicating that diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the United States. Although there is no cure for diabetic eye disease, annual eye exams for diabetes patients are essential to help slow the progression of the disease,” said Dr. Kahn.
The Prevent Blindness America Vision Problems in the U.S. identified that there are almost 8 million people ages 40 and older who have diabetic retinopathy. This represents an 89 percent increase between the years 2000-2012. “Certainly the incidence of some eye diseases and problems will increase with the aging of the baby boomer population. But, it is really disturbing to see the spike in diabetic retinopathy cases which is a direct consequence of the diabetes epidemic in this country,” Dr. Kahn explained.
The vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented if it's caught early and treated in time. More than one third of those diagnosed with diabetes do not adhere to vision care guidelines recommending a dilated eye exam every year. As part of Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month we are urging people with diabetes to have a dilated eye exam every year. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater his or her risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. However, diabetic retinopathy does not only affect people who have had diabetes for many years, it can also appear within the first year or two after the onset of the disease.
In addition to having regular eye examinations and testing at the direction of your eye doctor, patients can help to reduce the risk of developing diabetic eye disease by not smoking, controlling their cholesterol and lipid profile and blood pressure, as well as working to eat a heart-healthy diet rich in fish, fruit and green leafy vegetables and exercising.
If you or someone you know has diabetes or even elevated blood sugar levels they should work to prevent diabetic eye disease and problems with regular eye exams by calling The Eye Care & Surgery Center at 908-789-8999, visiting The Eye Care & Surgery Center or facebook.com/eyecareandsurgerycenter to schedule an appointment.
With locations at 592 Springfield Avenue, Westfield, New Jersey 07090, 10 Mountain Boulevard, Warren, New Jersey 07059 and 517 Route One South, Suite 1100, Iselin, New Jersey 08830, The Eye Care & Surgery Center is a leading NJ eye care practice serving central and northern New Jersey.