By Kathleen Back Brady
It’s beginning to look a lot like . . . holiday time again. With the busy season just around the corner, it’s important to maintain overall good health – and that includes good eye health as well.
The eye is the only structure where your doctor can observe the body’s microvasculature without any invasive technique. Subtle changes can oftentimes be detected in the eye, which can uncover numerous system conditions including infectious and inflammatory diseases.
The Florida Optometric Association stresses that early detection and treatment may limit the potential for vision loss. With more than 8 percent of Americans having diabetes, regular dilated eye exams are critical to prevent vision loss and other serious eye issues.
Diabetes is a disease that interferes with the body’s ability to use and store sugar, which can cause many health problems. Too much sugar in the blood can cause damage throughout the body, and that includes the eyes. Over the course of many years, diabetes affects the circulation system of the retina, which is the light sensitive lining at the back of the eye.
“Many eye problems show no symptoms until they are in an advanced stage, and that is why we recommend that people with diabetes in particular have an eye examination at least once a year,” says Dr. Barry Frauens, President of the Florida Optometric Association. “When the eyes are dilated, an eye doctor is able to examine the retina for signs of diabetic eye disease and prescribe a course of treatment to help preserve an individual’s sight.”
According to the American Optometric Association’s 2013 American Eye-Q® consumer survey, only 32 percent of respondents are aware that diabetic eye disease often has no visual signs or symptoms. Additionally, only 39 percent know that diabetes can be detected through a comprehensive eye examination.
People with diabetes are at a significantly higher risk for developing many eye diseases, including glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetic retinopathy, one of the most serious sight-threatening complications of diabetes, is also a potential risk. Diabetic retinopathy causes progressive damage to the retina. Damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina causes swelling of retinal tissue and clouding of vision. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy may lead to blindness……….
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Source: Tallahassee Democrat