Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 6, 2014 -- Approximately 3.6 million Americans over the age of 40 suffer from diabetic eye disease, which is recognized as the leading cause of vision loss among working-age adults.1Diabetic eye disease affects 28.5 of Americans with diabetes. That number is expected to grow to 11 million Americans by the year 2030.

With the month of November designated as Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, Dr. Sandy T. Feldman - a renowned ophthalmologist and corneal expert at Clearview Eye & Laser Center in San Diego - encourages patients to pay particular attention to any unusual changes in their eyesight and to consult a physician if they suspect they have diabetic eye disease or other vision disorder.  

"Diabetes affects 25 million Americans but unfortunately, some are unaware that they even have it. A condition known as diabetic retinopathy usually doesn't present symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage," says Dr. Feldman. "The good news is that the condition can be detected with a comprehensive eye exam. Early detection, combined with the appropriate treatment and follow-up, can help to reduce the risk of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy by as much as 95 percent. This statistic reinforces the importance of getting an annual eye exam in order to proactively prevent diabetic eye disease or other conditions."

With diabetic retinopathy, the small blood vessels around the retina - which is the layer of tissue at the back of the eye that senses light - get progressively weaker. As the disease progresses, the vessels can rupture and cause blood to leak into the eye.  The vessels can also spread and grow on the retina's surface, which results in the scarring of the tissue.

In order to help prevent diabetic retinopathy and other diabetes-related eye diseases, Dr. Feldman suggests the following:

  • Watch your diet - One way to prevent being diagnosed with a diabetes-related vision disorder is to maintain a balanced diet and control blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that keeping normal blood sugar levels can help to prevent or slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy by as much as 75 percent.
  • Control your blood pressure - Hypertension can cause diabetic retinopathy to progress to its most severe form and can increase the risk of other complications related to diabetes. High blood pressure can add pressure to weakened vessels in the eye, which in turn can cause the vessels to burst.
  • Get an annual eye exam - Getting an annual eye exam will not prevent someone from being diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy.  However, early detection can help prevent the vision loss associated with this disorder.

1. American Academy of Ophthalmology.

About Dr. Sandy T. Feldman

As a leader in the field of ophthalmology and with more than 20 years of experience, Dr. Sandy T. Feldman has participated in FDA clinical studies of Personalized LASIK. Currently, she is involved in studies of a new treatment to halt the progression of keratoconus, a disease in which the fitting of contact lenses can become challenging. In 2009, she was one of ten laser eye care providers in the U.S. to receive the Goldline Award as seen Forbes Magazine. In 2010, she was awarded the Silver Elite RealSelf award, and in 2011, she was awarded Top Doc San Diego, inducted into the prestigious American College of Ophthalmic Surgeons and was one of nation's 15 leading laser eye surgeons as seen in Newsweek magazine. In 2013, Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center was voted best LASIK center in San Diego by CityBeat Magazine. Dr. Feldman is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

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