Diabetic Eye Facts

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  • Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans.
  • Usually by the time diabetic patients recognize symptoms in their vision, the damage is severe, and many times irreversible.
  • Between 40 to 50% of people with diabetes have some degree of diabetic eye disease.
  • Having diabetes for a long time increases the chance for diabetic retinopathy.
  • Almost all of those patients who have had diabetes for more than 20 years show signs of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Diabetic retinopathy damage is permanent. Laser surgery most often cannot restore vision that has already been lost.
  • Smoking and high blood pressure increase chances for diabetic retinopathy.
  • The best measure to prevent diabetes damage in the eye is by keeping blood sugars low, and under control and having yearly dilated eye exams.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy almost always affects both eyes.
  • If you have diabetic retinopathy, you may need an eye exam more often. People with proliferative retinopathy can reduce their risk of blindness by 95 percent with timely treatment and appropriate follow-up care.
  • Many cases of diabetes are diagnosed through a dilated eye exam.
  • Every pregnant woman with diabetes should have a comprehensive and dilated eye exam early in her pregnancy.