Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness and vision loss in adults in the United States. To raise awareness of this issue, Prevent Blindness has declared November to be Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month.

As diabetes cases increase in this country, younger people are dealing with the effects on their optical health. Many people do not get the yearly screenings they need to catch issues caused by diabetes, so by the time they experience noticeable symptoms, the options for treatment are much more limited. 

In honor of Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, let’s look at eye disease / dysfunction that can stem from diabetes and how you can prevent them.

Diabetic Retinopathy

While everyone has heard about diabetes leading to glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy is actually the most common eye issue caused by diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness and vision impairment in people from ages 20 to 65, so it is something that needs to be better addressed. 

Diabetic retinopathy happens when the small blood vessels that nourish the nerve cells and tissues in the retina are damaged. There are four stages of diabetic retinopathy; mild, moderate, severe, and proliferative. There are no early warning signs of diabetic retinopathy, so it is essential to have annual eye exams in order to catch it early.

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

DME can occur in patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy. It occurs when the retinal blood vessels start to leak and leak into the macula, which is the portion of the eye that is responsible for your detailed central vision. When these leakages occur, they cause the macula to swell and thicken, creating a distortion of your central vision that progresses as the condition worsens.

DME does not lead to blindness but instead causes the loss of detail and central vision. DME is the number one cause of vision loss in those suffering from diabetic retinopathy and typically occurs in advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy. 

South Palm Eye Associates Can Help You Catch Diabetic Eye Diseases Early 

Our skilled eye doctors are trained to recognize early signs of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and diabetic macular edema. By finding the signs sooner, they can help you to slow or stop the progression of these diseases, as well as prevent possible vision loss or blindness. Call our office today at 561-737-4040 to set up a screening appointment for diabetic eye disease in Boynton Beach.