National Diabetic Eye Disease Month
November is American Diabetes Month, and it is a time to raise awareness of diabetes prevention and control. In conjunction with this National effort, November is also recognized as National Diabetic Eye Disease Month, and Retina Consultants of Charleston has been leading the fight against diabetic eye disease right here in the Lowcountry for over a decade.
There are many problems that people with diabetes face. Diabetic eye disease is one of the more common complications, and all forms of diabetic eye disease may cause severe vision loss or blindness.
Diabetic eye disease may include:
- Diabetic retinopathy—damage to the blood vessels in the retina.
- Cataract—clouding of the eye’s lens. Cataracts develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes.
- Glaucoma—increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and loss of vision. A person with diabetes is nearly twice as likely to get glaucoma as other adults.
“For some patients, diabetic retinopathy is actually one of their first signs of having diabetes. The risk of developing a diabetic eye disease increases the longer a person has had diabetes, but some may develop retinal abnormalities within a year or two of the first appearance of the disease” says Dr. Virgil Alfaro, an Ophthalmologist and retina specialist with Retina Consultants of Charleston.
Because diabetic eye disease may be developing even when your sight is good, having regular dilated eye exams is very important for discovering issues early. Some patients may notice signs of vision changes. If you’re having trouble reading, if your vision is blurred, or if you’re seeing rings around lights, dark spots, or flashing lights, you may have eye problems. Be sure to tell our team about any eye problems you may have.