Professionals in the eye care industry—like those at the Atlanta Vision Institute—stay informed on the latest studies and findings in optical news. This can include research on the newest advances in technology or recent links between diseases and eye health.
One such disease that affects almost 30 million Americans is diabetes, which is a metabolic disease where the body is unable to manufacture enough insulin, resulting in elevated blood glucose levels. There are almost two million cases of diabetes diagnosed in Americans each year and it remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Almost 90 million Americans are classified as prediabetic, which means that they are at an elevated risk of developing diabetes and heart disease due to higher than normal levels of glucose in the blood.
There are several common symptoms associated with diabetes. These can include:
- Tingling, aching or lack of feeling in the hands and feet
- Bruises and scratches that heal slowly
- Feeling thirsty or hungry despite a regular intake of food and drink
- Excessive tiredness
- Blurry vision
High glucose levels in the blood are known to cause many eye problems in patients with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is a common term for all diabetic retina disorders. The two major types of disorders are nonproliferative retinopathy and proliferative retinopathy. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to suffer from one of these disorders.
Patients suffering from diabetes are at a 40% higher risk of developing Glaucoma; this percentage increases with age. Cataracts are also extremely prevalent in diabetes patients, who often develop them at a younger age with a 60% higher risk than those without diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes is the primary cause of blindness in adults.
There are several additional complications that are proven to result from diabetes in patients. These include blindness, kidney failure, loss of limbs, stroke and heart disease. Almost a third of Americans suffering from diabetes remain undiagnosed and untreated.
Thankfully, the American Diabetes Association has officially declared November as American Diabetes Month with the hopes of raising awareness and understanding of all aspects of this disease. For more information on programs and initiatives, visit the American Diabetes Month website.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is vital for you to visit your ophthalmologist for regular eye exams to avoid developing some of these eye problems. The Atlanta Vision Institute supports American Diabetes Month and encourages all of our patients to raise awareness and remain informed of the latest optical developments.