Blindness is a leading bad outcome of poorly controlled diabetes. The technical term is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes is the No. 1 cause of adult onset blindness in the United States, with some 24,000 new cases of blindness per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. high levels of blood sugar weaken tiny blood vessels in the eye, eventually causing them to bleed. This damages the retina, the part of the eye that receives light and sends images to the brain. This side effect can be prevented through tight control of blood sugar. Also, ophthalmologists can use lasers to seal off abnormal blood vessels in the retina before they damage the central part of the retina.
Here are some important resource documents for standards of quality medical care in preventing diabetes-related blindness:
- Prevention and treatment of diabetic retinopathy (blindness). This includes treatment guidelines for blood glucose control and dilated eye exams, from the American Diabetes Association.
- Treatment of diabetic retinopathy (blindness). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
- Standards for optometrists in treating diabetes-related eye disease. American Optometric Association
Poorly controlled blood sugar greatly increases a patient’s risk of diabetic blindness. Patients need to take their blood sugar several times a day and make sure their hemoglobin AIC is in good control. Regular annual visits to the eye doctor, as soon as someone knows they are diabetic, also are important to preventing diabetic blindness.
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