January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma risk increases for individuals with diabetes, in addition to other diabetes eye disorders.
According to the National Eye Institute (NEI) there are approximately 3 million people age 40 and older who have glaucoma.(1) The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has identified that 40% of individuals with diabetes are at risk for developing glaucoma. This risk increases with age, and the length of diabetes diagnosis.(2)
NEI defines glaucoma as a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve due to increased pressure from fluid that builds up in the eye.(1) Similar to other diabetes eye diseases, if left untreated, an individual can experience total vision loss. Other eye diseases related to diabetes are diabetic retinopathy (nonproliferative and proliferative), macular edema, and cataracts.
When treated early, diabetes eye disease can be managed to decrease the progression of the disease.
Key Components of Early Treatment
Annual Dilated Eye Exam A dilated eye exam provides a comprehensive view of the inside of the eye through the use of drops that widen the pupil, so that the health care professional can see a clear view of the back of the eye.(3)Blood Glucose Control Achieving good blood glucose control is important in the prevention of complications related to diabetes. Discussing what your glucose targets should be with your health care provider is key to keeping glucose levels within range. Take advantage of diabetes education programs provided within your local communities and interactive wellness programs. CCS Medical offers our LivingConnected program so that physicians and caretakers are alerted to any readings within a critical range.
Cholesterol & Blood Pressure Control High cholesterol and high blood pressure can contribute to the development of eye disease. Check with your health care provider about what your levels should be and how often to keep this in check.
Diabetes is a 24/7 disease. Taking the right steps to control it through education and use of available community resources is essential. Learning how to manage with meal planning, exercise and medications can help you to achieve control of your diabetes.
Additional resources that can assist with eye care can be found through NEI with various organizations that can offer financial support for early detection and treatment for eye disease.(4)
In recognition of Glaucoma Awareness Month, all individuals with diabetes are encouraged to schedule an annual dilated eye exam.
Now is the time for you to keep an EYE on your diabetes!
- National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) , Retrieved January 12, 2017 from https://nei.nih.gov/nehep/programs/diabeticeyedisease
- American Diabetes Association. Eye Disease. Retrieved January 12, 2017 from http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/eye-complications/
- National Eye Institute. (NEI). What is a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Retrieved January 12, 2017 from https://nei.nih.gov/healthyeyes/eyeexam
- National Eye Institute. (NEI). Financial Aid for Eye Care. Retrieved January 12, 2017 from https://nei.nih.gov/healthyeyes/financialaid