According to a recent study from Prevent Blindness, the estimated number of diabetic retinopathy cases in 2014 is currently more than 8 million and projected to increase to close to 11 million by 2032.
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Early symptoms may include blurred vision; fluctuation in the clarity of vision; sudden loss of vision, specifically following coughing or sneezing; and seeing floaters or "cobwebs” in the field of vision. Diabetics are 40 percent more likely to develop glaucoma and 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts than those without diabetes. Early detection and treatment of diabetes can help prevent vision impairment and blindness.
In a recent survey, one in five adults reported knowing someone who has either lost sight or is currently losing their eyesight to diabetes. This survey was conducted online within the United States on behalf of Prevent Blindness on Sept. 23, 2014 among 1000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.
“We all know that controlling or preventing diabetes through healthy living is a good idea,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “People also should be aware that a healthy lifestyle can save your vision.”
Prevent Blindness has declared November as Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month to help educate the public on diabetes prevention strategies, potential risk factors, treatment options and Medicare coverage policies.
As part of the efforts, Prevent Blindness warns the public against the “7 DED-ly Sins” of diabetic eye disease (DED) including:
· Those with diabetes not visiting an eye doctor annually
· Not maintaining a healthy weight
· Decreasing physical activity
· Failing to monitor blood sugar levels
· Not maintaining a healthy blood pressure
· Not getting a dilated eye exam if you become or plan to become pregnant