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 look into the back of your eyes to evaluate your retinas. We are looking for abnormal blood vessels, bleeding or swelling of this delicate tissue. 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 over the prior 90 days. Primary care physicians generally like to see values on this test in the 6 range. 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 if 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, kidneys and feet. If your eyes are free if diabetic changes, then that is generally good news for the rest of you.
Are you a diabetic and have gone more than a year since your last eye examination? Time to call to set one up, see you soon!
Dr. Mark German is an Optometrist practicing with Dr. Martha Jay and Dr. James Ivanoski at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.