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Learn About Diabetic Retinopathy and Loss of Eyesight During National Diabetes Month

Did you know that diabetes is the dominant causal factor of blindness among men and women between age twenty and seventy-four? Since 2008, over four million men and women in North America suffering from diabetes were diagnosed with diabetes related blindness. Of this group, seventy thousand had severe diabetic retinopathy, which can result in irreversible blindness.

While not every individual is at risk of diabetes related vision loss, it is good to be aware of the connection between the disease and loss of sight.

Firstly, those diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk. One way to find out if you have diabetes related vision loss is to have your optometrist test your vision regularly. The longer the affliction remains unchecked, the greater the risk of diabetes caused blindness. Quick treatment is vital in terms of halting further loss.

Expectant mothers that are afflicted with pregnancy-related diabetes have a higher risk of contracting diabetic retinopathy. It is advisable to schedule a comprehensive dilated eye test after diagnosis as well.

Maybe you are wondering, why all the panic? Wouldn't there be obvious symptoms of blindness?

The truth is, not necessarily. There are several forms of diabetic retinopathy, and only those which are in the advanced stages are easy to discern. Proliferative diabetes might have no symptoms. Macular edema is another diabetes related disease which results in severe blindness. Both conditions may manifest without any obvious symptoms. This is why early diagnosis is crucial to saving yourself from permanent deterioration.

A thorough analysis will look for signs of diabetic retinopathy. There are multiple stages to this exam which will detect the standard indicators, including damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, the buildup of fatty deposits on the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is entailed in a complete eye exam?

Firstly, you will get a visual acuity exam by means of an eye chart which is used to determine how correctly you can see at different distances. This is similar to the visual acuity exams given by optometrists, if you need glasses.

In a dilated eye exam, the optometrist puts drops in your eyes to amplify the size of your pupils. Though not a favorite of most patients, it can prevent deterioration in your vision later on. This practice makes it possible to check a larger section of the interior portion of your eyes to look for distinct symptoms that show the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy. The momentary discomfort may save your vision.

It is important to value your eye sight. Even a little laziness can lead to irreversible loss. If you have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it is necessary to schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor as soon as possible.


Personal Message from Drs. McRoberts, Bowden & Davidson regarding COVID-19

Considering the evolving situation of COVID-19, we feel it is our responsibility to prioritize the health of our community members during this critical time and do what we can to minimize the opportunity for transmission. As a result, we have made the decision to close our physical clinic and provide only virtual appointments & emergency referrals until further notice.

For Squamish patients, please call 604-892-5055 during our regular business hours to consult.
For West Vancouver patients, please call 604-922- 0413 during our regular business hours to consult.

We are here if you need us!

**Please note – we will continue to be available for your glasses, contacts, eye drops, ocular supplements and any other product or prescription needs. Please call and we can arrange to have these shipped directly to your door at no charge.

Thank you for your support and understanding as we navigate these unprecedented times. We are hopeful that this will be a temporary measure, and will be monitoring the situation carefully. Please take care of yourselves & each other, and we hope to see you soon!

Drs. McRoberts, Bowden & Davidson