November is Diabetes Awareness month. Did you know that diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new, irreversible blindness in adults from industrialized nations for people aged 20-74? Globally, 93 million people suffer from Diabetic Retinopathy alone. Four primary eye diseases are linked to diabetes: cataracts, glaucoma, macular edema and the most common- diabetic retinopathy. Duration of diabetes, poor glycemic control and hypertension are the highest risk factors for diabetic eye disease. Diabetes affects the eye in specific ways.
First, high blood sugar can cause swelling in the lens of the eye. This can be a temporary condition. Over time, diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina and can cause blind spots, blurred and double vision, “flashing lights”, floating spots and decreased vision. Visual acuity can also fluctuate. Decreased vision, however affects daily living. There are four stages of Diabetic Retinopathy and eye exams for diabetics include more specialized test than a routine annual comprehensive eye exam. There are no treatments available to restore lost vision. However, there are treatments that can minimize further damage and aid in coping with the damage including: lasers, medicine, surgery and vision-related rehabilitation.
In this segment and as part of Diabetes Awareness Month, Dr. Janelle Davison, a local optometrist that specializes in clinically complex eye care will provide a general overview of how diabetes affects the eye, diabetic eye diseases, treatments and preventive strategies for diabetic patients to maintain their vision. Listeners can visit: www.brillianteyesmarietta.com, www.visionaware.org or www.diabetes.org for more information.
Dr. Janelle Davison
- BS in Biology from Xavier University in LA
- Doctor of Optometry from Pennsylvania College of Optometry
- Specialist in clinically complex eye disease
- Currently in private practice at Brilliant Eye Vision Center in Marietta, GA