All of us should be getting our regular eye examinations to make sure our eyes are healthy, but the importance of people with diabetes getting their recommended exams is critical. In both type 1 and type 2 diabetics, high blood sugar damages the delicate blood vessels in the retina. This damage is called diabetic retinopathy. In diabetic retinopathy, serious complications can cause significant vision loss if left untreated. Sudden vision loss from these complications, such as, a vitreous hemorrhage, or tractional retinal detachment is extremely threatening issues that can cause blindness.
The retina is a layer of neural tissue in the back of the eye, and it’s responsible for brain communication, projecting photoreceptors, circadian rhythm regulation, light detection and neural plasticity. The retina is the only part of the central nervous system that can be visualized and studied directly. This is done via an ophthalmoscope. The information collected during the examination of the retinal pathway is important for helping to identify irregularities and brain function.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, in the article cited below, an alarming number of diabetics do not get their eye exams on a regular basis. The importance of dilated exams is critical due to the damaging effects associated with diabetic retinopathy.
Sixty Percent of Americans with Diabetes Skip Annual Sight-Saving Exams
People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing serious eye diseases, yet most do not have sight-saving, annual eye exams, according to a large study presented at AAO 2016, the 120th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Researchers at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia have found that more than half of patients with the disease skip these exams. They also discovered that patients who smoke – and those with less severe diabetes and no eye problems – were most likely to neglect having these checks.
The researchers collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review the charts of close to 2,000 patients age 40 or older with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to see how many had regular eye exams. Their findings over a four-year period revealed that:
– Fifty-eight percent of patients did not have regular follow-up eye exams
– Smokers were 20 percent less likely to have exams
– Those with less-severe disease and no eye problems were least likely to follow recommendations
– Those who had diabetic retinopathy were 30 percent more likely to have follow-up exams
One in 10 Americans have diabetes, putting them at heightened risk for visual impairment due to the eye disease diabetic retinopathy. The disease also can lead to other blinding ocular complications if not treated in time. Fortunately, having a dilated eye exam yearly or more often can prevent 95 percent of diabetes-related vision loss.
Eye exams are critical as they can reveal hidden signs of disease, enabling timely treatment. This is why the Academy recommends people with diabetes have them annually or more often as recommended by their ophthalmologist, which is a physician who specializes in medical and surgical eye care.
Please call 561-432-4141 to schedule your Clear Vue Eye appointment today.
Monique M. Barbour, M.D.
Dr. Barbour A Board Certified Ophthalmologist. She attended Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina where she received my bachelor’s degree in Pre-Medicine. Dr. Barbour graduated with honors from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C. and completed a residency in Ophthalmology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y.
After residency, she completed a Glaucoma fellowship at Georgetown University in Washington, DC and a Refractive Surgery fellowship at the world renowned Institute de Clinica Barraquer in Bogata, Columbia. Dr. Barbour has been the medical director of Clear Vue Laser Eye Center, a state-of-the-art vision care center for the past 15 years. As a diplomat of the American Board of Ophthalmology and a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, she is dedicated to providing the highest quality of ophthalmic care. Dr. Barbour speaks multiple languages including Española.
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