The Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired recognizes November as “Diabetic Eye Disease Month.” The purpose of this designation is to increase awareness about how diabetes can potentially affect your eyes and how to prevent it.
We like to see diabetics at least yearly for a complete eye examination. That includes dilating drops so we can see into the back of the eye called the retina. We are looking for abnormal blood vessels, bleeding or swelling. If these problems are detected early, treatments such as lasers or injections are more effective.
Vision loss from diabetic eye disease is preventable. Tight control of your blood sugar is the key. This means carefully monitoring at home and/or at your doctor’s office. The hemoglobin A1c is a simple blood test that measures of how well controlled your blood sugars have been maintained over the prior 90 days. Primary care physicians generally like to see values on this test between 6 and 7. Of equal importance is early detection of diabetic eye disease as that improves your chances of protecting your vision.
We stay in close contact with your primary care physician with annual reports about your eyes so they can be fully aware of whether diabetes has affected them. The eyes actually serve as a “window” into the rest of your body: diabetes has the potential of affecting small blood vessels elsewhere such as the heart, kidney and feet. If your eyes look good, then that is generally good news for the rest of you.
Are you a diabetic who has gone more than a year since an eye examination? Time to call to set one up, see you soon!
Dr. Martha Jay is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist specializing in medical and surgical eye care such as blade-free LASIK and small incision cataract surgery. For more eye care information, visit www.LakeShoreVision.com or call 262-241-1919.