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Your Healthy Family: Don't let diabetes rob you of your eyesight

Posted at 4:14 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 11:15:14-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — As we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we should remember that there is another battle millions of Americans have been fighting, or are at risk of fighting, and it is one that has been going on much longer. November is National Diabetes Month. The American Diabetes Association says this is a time we can gather to take action together as a community. We are strongest when unified, and we can work together to conquer this disease and the many debilitating effects it can have on us and on our loved ones.

Diabetes can affect many major organs, including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, kidneys, and eyes, says Dr. David Davis, MD FACS. Dr. Davis is a board-certified ophthalmologist with HAAS Vision Center in Colorado Springs.

Dr. Davis explains, “Diabetes is a disease that affects almost the entire body. Most of us know that diabetes affects things such as your kidneys, but it also affects other organs in your body, unfortunately including the eyes. Diabetes is a very significant cause of eye disease; it's a leading cause of blindness in adults in what should be the productive years between ages 20 and 74.”

Diabetics know that working with their doctor and frequently monitoring their blood sugars is key to managing the disease.

Dr. Davis emphasizes that for diabetics, managing and monitoring their eyesight annually is just as important. “If you have diabetes, your primary care doctor is almost always going to refer you to ophthalmology or optometry to have an annual eye exam. We will then send a report back to them so they know if the tissue in your eyes is showing signs of damage and where your eyesight is at. We can detect abnormalities when doing a dilated eye exam that warn us that the diabetes is progressing before you have any symptoms, so these exams can work as an early warning system. Another thing that is relevant is that if your retinas are showing abnormalities, there's a good chance your kidneys or other bodily systems are going bad at the same time, and your primary physician would need to know that as early-on as possible.”

Prevention and early treatment of these conditions in the eye for diabetics is vital because if ignored the damage is permanent. Dr. Davis says, “It breaks my heart when people come in, they've been bound up with the exigencies of life, busy dealing with children, families, work, and they have neglected to care for their diabetes. They come in with impaired vision from retinopathy and it's painful to tell them it's sometimes not going to get better. You have to prevent it.”

In a future story, Dr. Davis will detail a few of the most common conditions like diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts that can all rob people with diabetes of their eyesight.

If you have any questions about eyesight and diabetes you can follow up with Dr. Davis and the team at HAAS Vision Center in Colorado Springs, by visiting their website (HERE)

Haas vision center is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family