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Diabetic Eye Care

Diabetes affects many parts of the body, including the eyes. Diabetic eye disease is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. If the disease is not properly treated in a timely manner, severe diabetic eye disease can lead to complete blindness and even to loss of the eyeball itself. In the early stages, and often even in the later stages of diabetic eye problems, you may not even know that anything is wrong with your eyes unless you are getting regular dilated eye exams. The longer diabetic damage goes undetected, the harder it is to stabilize the eye damage and vision. Typically, permanent vision damage can be avoided with early detection and treatment. Diabetics should have a diabetic eye care exam at least once each year in order to identify problems early.

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What Can I Expect?

Diabetic eye disease can be treated, and treatments are most effective with early detection of the condition. When the blood vessels in the retina have been affected by diabetic retinopathy, laser surgery has been proven to reduce the risk of severe vision loss by about 60 percent. In the case of macular edema, laser surgery can also be effective to seal leaking blood vessels.

Diabetics are also nearly twice as likely to suffer from cataracts and glaucoma than non-diabetics. Cataract surgery is very effective — most patients will notice improvements in vision in just a few days. Glaucoma, while we don’t have a cure, can also be treated effectively with medication, laser treatment, or surgery.

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