Diabetes and Your Vision: 3 Things You Need to Know

November marks American Diabetes Month, and some of the statistics recently released by the American Diabetes Association are alarming:

– Diabetes affects nearly 30 million children and adults in the U.S. today—nearly 10 percent of the population.
– Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
– Recent estimates project that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes by 2050.

Diabetes is also the leading cause of new cases of blindness among working-age adults. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, special care should be taken to keep your vision in check.

William Trattler, M.D., an ophthalmologist affiliated with Baptist Medical Arts and Surgery Center, says that there are serious eye and vision complications that can occur as a result of diabetes. “The main thing we worry about is diabetic retinopathy (a condition occurring in diabetics, which causes progressive damage to the retina, which can lead to a loss of vision),” he says. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they are to develop this dangerous condition.

Dr. Trattler also warns persons with diabetes to closely monitor and control their blood sugar levels. “Elevated blood sugar levels can lead to blurred or even double vision,” he says. “Diabetic patients should strive to keep their blood sugar stable.”

People with diabetes are 60 percent more likely to develop a cataract,  a hazy or opaque area in the clear lens of the eye.

“Getting a dilated eye exam by your doctor is essential to catching any of these conditions early.” Dr. Trattler says.  “With early detection, many of these conditions can be treated.”

Dr. Trattler stresses prevention as well. He is a strong advocate of a healthy diet and exercise to help avoid certain types of diabetes altogether.

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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