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November is Diabetes Awareness Month
By Dr. Jeff Goodhew Updated: November 8, 2015
Diabetes can have serious complications when it comes to our eyes and vision. If you have diabetes it is important to have your eyes checked by a Doctor of Optometry on a yearly basis.
Diabetes and its complications can affect not only your vision, but the delicate structures inside your eye. Diabetes can cause fluctuating blood sugar which in turn can cause fluctuating vision. However, the most serious eye problem associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy.
- Diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is a weakening or swelling of the tiny blood vessels in the retina of your eye, resulting in fluid leakage, the growth of new blood vessels and other changes. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can result in blindness.
- Early detection of diabetic retinopathy through a comprehensive eye exam is crucial, as treatment is much more likely to be successful at an early stage.
- Several factors that increase the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy include smoking, high blood pressure, drinking alcohol and pregnancy.
- See your physician regularly and follow instructions about diet, exercise and medication. See your doctor of optometry for a thorough eye examination when you are first diagnosed with diabetes, at least annually thereafter and more frequently if recommended.
- 33 per cent of all Ontarians with diabetes do not get regular eye exams for diabetic retinopathy.