Diabetic Eye Disease & Problems

Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Monday, November 4, 2013

Diabetic Eye Disease & Problems

Arturo Betancourt, M.D., Medical Director & Ophthalmologist at Baltimore Washington Eye Center reviewed information about diabetic eye disease and diabetic eye problems as Prevent Blindness America has designated November as National Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. “What we know from the most recent Prevent Blindness America Vision Problems in the U.S. report is that diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20-74 years of age. According to the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the United States. Although there is no cure for diabetic eye disease, annual eye exams for diabetes patients are essential to help slow the progression of the disease,” said Dr. Betancourt.
The Prevent Blindness America Vision Problems in the U.S. identified that there are almost 8 million people ages 40 and older who have diabetic retinopathy. This represents an 89 percent increase between the years 2000-2012. “While it is not surprising that the incidence of some eye diseases and problems is increasing with the aging of the baby boomer population, it is terribly disturbing to see the dramatic spike in diabetic retinopathy cases, a consequence of the diabetes epidemic that this country is experiencing with no end in sight,” Dr. Betancourt explained.
The vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented if it's caught early and treated in time. More than one third of those diagnosed with diabetes do not adhere to vision care guidelines recommending a dilated eye exam every year. As part of Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month we are urging people with diabetes to have a dilated eye exam every year. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater his or her risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. However, diabetic retinopathy does not only affect people who have had diabetes for many years, it can also appear within the first year or two after the onset of the disease.

“Blood sugar levels can weaken blood vessels causing them to break down which causes swelling, hemorrhages and lipid deposits that can ultimately lead to vision loss. More ominous is the effect of the blood vessel breakdown and oxygen deprivation in promoting fragile new blood vessel growth that can easily break resulting in vitreous hemorrhage, retinal detachment and catastrophic vision loss,” further explained Dr. Betancourt.

In addition to having regular eye examinations and testing at the direction of your eye doctor, patients can help to reduce the risk of developing diabetic eye disease  by not smoking, controlling their cholesterol and lipid profile and blood pressure, as well as working to eat a heart-healthy diet rich in fish, fruit and green leafy vegetables and exercising. 

If you or someone you know has diabetes or even elevated blood sugar levels they should work to prevent diabetic eye disease and problems with regular eye exams by contacting Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can help identify the possible causes and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland 21029, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.