The number of Americans with type 2 diabetes could rise to as many as one-third of all adults by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Accompanying this projected increase in the number of diabetes cases is the increased likelihood that millions more Americans will develop diabetic eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts.
We support nation-wide efforts to halt the threat posed by diabetes to your health, including your vision, because your best defense is to recognize the risk factors and possible symptoms and avoid diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors
Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes? As identified by the American Diabetes Association, you are most likely to develop the disease if you:
- are a male with a history of not seeing your doctor regularly
- have a family history of diabetes
- have high blood pressure
- are over the age of 40
- are African American, Mexican American, American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander or Asian American
- aren’t physically active
- have a high Body Mass Index (BMI), the combination of your weight and height
People who have been previously identified as having impaired fasting glucose (IFC) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) are also at risk.
Possible Diabetes Symptoms
Diabetes is often called a “silent” disease because it can gradually cause serious complications without warning signs. Common symptoms of diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), can include:
- being very hungry or thirsty
- frequent urination
- feeling tired
- losing weight without trying
- sores that heal slowly
- dry, itchy skin
- loss of feeling or tingling in the feet or hands
- blurry vision
Prevention and Detection Are Key
About 90 percent of diabetes-related vision loss can be prevented, but early detection is key.
Your eye doctor can often detect early signs of eye diseases before you’re aware of any symptoms. If you haven’t been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the American Optometric Association recommends you get a dilated eye exam every two years if you are 60 or younger and not at risk; thereafter, every year. Always see your eye doctor if you notice any changes in your vision.
To further protect yourself against diabetes, ask your primary care physician to order an A1C blood test, which provides information about your average levels of blood glucose over the past three months. It doesn’t require fasting.
If you have regular comprehensive dilated eye exams at Lighthouse Guild, we can find serious eye diseases like those related to diabetes before they advance and potentially affect your vision. Call 212-769-6313.
If you have diabetes and vision loss, Lighthouse Guild’s specialized ADA-certified program team of diabetes educators, nutritionists, endocrinologist and nurse practitioner can help you manage the disease. Call 212-769-6313.