November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

Posted on November 06, 2017

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

By: Dr. Jeffrey Colburn, MD

Did you know that diabetes is the largest cause of blindness in adults between the ages of 20-74? Awareness is important because such vision loss might be prevented or minimized by good control of blood sugar in diabetes. The most feared eye complication of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy which can lead to bleeding and swelling inside the eye and eventually even retinal detachment. Diabetes can also lead to early cataract formation. I have had one patient that even had to have diabetes-related cataracts surgically removed from both eyes at the age of 10.

Though we watch our pediatric patients with diabetes for complications, typically such problems are not seen until after at least 5 years of having diabetes and not very often before the late teen years. However, it is still important to know about these issues since children and teenagers with diabetes have many years ahead to live with the disease and life-long control of diabetes is critical for preventing vision loss later in life. But this information is also vital to be aware of so that you can educate and remind your other family members and friends of the critical importance of controlling their diabetes and monitoring for eye complications.

Here is a link for further info on diabetic eye disease from the National Eye Institute: https://nei.nih.gov/nehep/programs/diabeticeyedisease