November is Diabetes Awareness Month. This is a good opportunity to emphasize some important points about Diabetes Mellitus and eye health. In our country, diabetes is the leading cause of visual impairment in working-age individuals. Many of you may already know this. Moreover, 60 percent of adults also realize that diabetes may be detectable through a comprehensive eye exam.
Among people who don’t wear optical corrections, like contact lenses or glasses, only about one-third of adults get regular comprehensive eye exams. A third of the 21 million Americans with Diabetes don’t know it, as they have not had regular medical exams with their primary doctors. Often during our comprehensive eye examination we uncover some suspicious symptoms or physical findings that lead to the initial diagnosis of diabetes. Certain symptoms such as intermittent focus difficulties which vary throughout the day, glare at night, distorted or blurred vision and sudden floaters can all point to diabetes.
We recommend annual eye exams, even with healthy eyes, in all patients over 60 years, all patients with diabetes, patients who use contact lenses and anyone with a significant family history of glaucoma. It is not unusual to discover diabetes during these examinations. It is particularly important to check yearly with pupil dilation for those patients who do have a diagnosis of diabetes. Diabetic Retinopathy can develop in the eyes very gradually and without any noticeable symptoms. Untreated this can lead to visual impairment or blindness, and it is much more successful with earlier treatment.
If you have diabetes, or haven’t had an eye exam in a while, consider calling your ophthalmologist today to schedule an appointment. The doctors of the Koby Karp Doctors Eye Institute are available to see new patients. We specialize in comprehensive eye care. Call the Doctors Eye Institute at (502) 897-1604.