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Florida Eye Institute Blog

It’s National Diabetes Month – Are you at risk for serious eye disease?

Did you know that 95% of diabetes-related vision loss could be prevented with a regular eye exam? Diabetes increases the risk of developing serious eye disease, yet most people do not have sight-saving, annual eye exams, according to a large study. Florida Eye Institute joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in recognizing the importance of eye health this November, observed nationally as Diabetes Awareness Month. One in 10 Americans has diabetes, putting them at heightened risk for visual impairment. Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions that include retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma. Fluctuating blood sugar creates fragile, abnormal blood vessels that grow and leak within the eye, distorting vision. Distortions can advance to blindness if left untreated. Researchers at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia found that more than half of patients with the Diabetes skip annual eye exams. They also discovered that patients who smoke – and therefore more likely to have signs of diabetic eye disease – were most likely to neglect to have annual check-ups. Collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers reviewed charts of nearly 2,000 patients age 40 or older with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to see how many had regular eye exams. Their

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June is Cataract Awareness Month. Are You at Risk?

Living with cataract can be compared to looking at life through a dirty window. The condition clouds the eye’s natural lens, causing changes in vision. Sensitivity to glare, dulled color perception, increased nearsightedness and frequent changes to eyeglass prescriptions are common with the onset of cataract. But, cataracts not only makes life less vibrant, they can dull the visual cues used to prevent personal injury. Studies show untreated cataract increases the risk of accidents for older adults – up to 75% in some cases. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found automobile drivers who delayed the needed eye procedure were twice as likely to be involved in a car crash than those who opted to have treatment when medically appropriate. Timely cataract replacement not only lowers the risk of auto accident, it can reduce the risk of damaging hip fracture. An analysis of Medicare patients showed an astonishing 16% decrease in hip fractures after cataract surgery. Cataract is largely considered a condition of aging, with nearly 23 million Americans showing evidence of the disease. Most individuals will develop cataract by age 80. Treatment involves removal of the clouded natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular

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