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Diabetic Eye Disease (cont.)

Do I need to follow-up with my doctor after being diagnosed with diabetic eye disease?

If you or someone you know has diabetes and mild diabetic eye disease, follow-up examinations with an ophthalmologist every year may be all that is necessary.

If the person has more serious disease, more frequent follow-up appointments with an ophthalmologist are required based on the severity of the disease.

How can diabetic eye disease be prevented?

If you or someone you know has diabetes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

The chances of developing serious complications from diabetes decrease dramatically by adhering to the following:

  • eat a healthy diabetic diet,
  • exercise regularly,
  • monitor blood sugars, and
  • take diabetic medications as prescribed.

Even if you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, a healthy diet, maintaining a normal weight, exercising regularly, and not smoking are advisable.

This is especially important in light of the new, more accurate definition of diabetes that estimates 86 million people in the United States have prediabetes, a condition that significantly increases the risk for developing this disease.

What's the prognosis for a person with diabetic eye disease?

The earlier diabetic eye disease is diagnosed and treated (if necessary), the better the prognosis.

  • For those with diabetic retinopathy, the prognosis is determined by the severity of the disease. In mild cases and in those treated early, the person may not even notice any problems with their vision. In severe cases, relentless and progressive irreversible vision loss may occur despite the best treatment.
  • Cataracts are easily treated with cataract surgery, and, if the vision loss is due to cataracts, almost everyone undergoing cataract surgery sees better afterward.
  • Vision loss as a result of glaucoma is usually prevented by the use of antiglaucoma eyedrops.

REFERENCES:

American Diabetes Association. "Statistics About Diabetes." Updated Apr 1, 2016.
<http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/>

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Prediabetes." Updated Aug 6, 2015.
<http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html>

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Small Steps. Big Rewards. Your GAME PLAN to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Information for Patients."
<http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-communication-programs/ndep/health-care-professionals/game-plan/small-steps/Pages/publicationdetail.aspx>

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. " National Diabetes Prevention Program." Updated Jan 14, 2016.
<http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/index.html>


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/13/2016

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