A Recent Increase In Vision Loss Among Diabetic Patients Could be Prevented, According To Renowned Eye Surgeon Dr. Stewart Shofnerby Dr. Shofner
In addition to vision loss, diabetes patients can also have other serious risks health risks including heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and high blood pressure. An estimated 7 million people don't even know they have diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association. "Many more don't even realize they have diabetes, which not only risks their health, but also risk their vision", says Dr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center in Nashville, TN. Only a comprehensive eye exam can determine if someone has diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. "We have definitely seen an increase in patients that have vision impairment without knowing that they may also have diabetes."
A recent study published December 12th in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows a significant increase of non-refractive visual impairment in US adults in the last decade. The study indicated an alarming 21% increase of US adults aged 20 and older have developed non-refractive visual impairment. The most dramatic increase was among non-Hispanic whites aged 20-39 years. "These reports are alarming, especially given the young age of people who are now developing diabetes. This should be a wake up call for the medical profession to educate patients about their risks and more importantly prevention of diabetes and other medical condition due to poor eating habits", says Dr. Shofner.
Causes of Visual Impairment
Most vision problems occur when the eye doesn't bend light correctly (refract) as it enters the eye, resulting in a blurred image. There are several disorders that involve refractive error, most of which are likely all too familiar. Symptoms of refractive disorders include blurry vision, difficulty reading or seeing close objects, and crossing of the eyes in children. However, vision impairment from diabetes or other health issues must be treated differently than common refractive issues. Glasses and contacts only mask the problem and potentially make diseases of the eye worse because the fundamental cause of the problem is not being treated. This is why annual vision exams, especially dilated exams, are so important.
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and the seventh leading cause of death among adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Regular eye exams and proactive treatment can reduce your risk of vision loss. Small steps, such as a healthier diet and regular physical activity are all great ways to prevent illness or disease. Dr. Shofner recommends scheduling a yearly eye exam to detect early cataracts and other vision impairment to maintain good eyesight and good health. Additional prevention resources are available online at http://www.diabetes.org.
About Shofner Vision Center
Shofner Vision Center offers a well-trained and caring group of professionals who pay close attention to details to ensure every patient is given the best possible care. Anyone experiencing eye related issues should schedule a comprehensive eye exam to determine if an eye disease, such as diabetic retinopathy, is present. Shofner Vision Center treats nearly every medical condition of the eye including LASIK and cataract surgery. Dr. Shofner has been practicing in Tennessee since 1990 and has performed more than 10,000 cataract and ocular surgeries and more than 30,000 LASIK surgeries on Middle Tennessee eyes. Additional eye resources may be found on Shofner Vision Center's website.