Diabetes and the Eye

According to the Center for Disease Control, it is estimated that over 30 million people in the United States have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. This is nearly 9.5% of our population. Having diabetes can predispose us to other medical conditions, including kidney, nerve and eye disease.

Approximately 30% of Americans with diabetes will have ocular complications that can impair sight, including retinal bleeding and fluid leakage, macular edema, new blood vessel growth and cataracts. Retina damage from diabetes is often asymptomatic at first, so all individuals with diabetes should see an eye doctor for a comprehensive examination at least once every year, and likely more if diabetic eye disease has been diagnosed.

The best way to avoid diabetic eye disease is through careful control of blood sugar levels and blood pressure. However, if one does have complications of diabetes leading to sight impairment and low vision, there are many options for help, including optical and electronic magnifiers, lighting, colored filters, non-optical devices and training in mobility and independent living skills.

To schedule a low vision exam, please call 202-454-6422.

Written by: Dr. Henry Friedman