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November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month

November 18th 2019

A staggering statistic: In 2016, 3.5 million Canadians were living with diabetes. That figure is expected to rise to nearly 14 million by 2026!
Did you know that the leading cause of blindness among working age adults, may also be one of the most preventable eye diseases?
Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is the most common form of vision loss associated with diabetes. It refers to damage to the retina, which is caused by prolonged periods of high blood sugar levels. When left untreated, the condition may advance into Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), where damaged blood vessels leak into the macula (the central area of the retina) resulting in blurred vision and dark and distorted images. When the disease advances, new blood vessels grow to compensate for the damaged old ones, but they are weaker and more susceptible to breaking and rupturing. This can lead to bleeding into the vitreous cavity, which may present as floaters or spots in one’s vision.
There is no reliable cure for vision loss resulting from diabetic retinopathy, but the disease can be managed—and vision loss prevented—if it is diagnosed early enough, before damage to the retina occurs.
The chances of developing diabetic retinopathy increase the longer you have diabetes. The disease can also increase your chances of developing neovascular glaucoma and cataracts.
Who is at risk?
Anyone with diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2!
What to do if you are diabetic?
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is essential to have an annual dilated eye examination with your optometrist, since the early stages of the disease do not always carry symptoms. In Alberta, the cost of the dilated portion of an eye exam for people with diabetes is fully covered by Alberta Health Care. Controlling blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol will also help prevent or delay the development of eye disease.
Protect your vision from diabetes by following these steps to keep your health on TRACK
TTake your medications as prescribed by your doctor or endocrinologist
RReach and maintain a healthy weight
AAdd more physical activity to your daily routine
CControl your ABC’s – A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol levels
K Kick the smoking habit

Don’t let diabtes affect your vision! Book an eye exam with us today!

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