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National Diabetes Month a Good Time to Focus on Eye Health: 6 Facts

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Diabetes and eye care

November is National Diabetes month which makes it a good time to schedule your eye exam if you haven’t had one in the past year. Annual screening for eye disease is as important as exercise, eating to control your blood sugar and keeping track of your glucose levels.

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of loss of vision that is a common eye disease.

According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic retinopathy affects 28.5% of Americans age 40 and above.

Retinopathy occurs slowly over time from damage to the small blood vessels in the eye. Damage to the retina occurs progressively. As the disease advance the risk that blood vessels might rupture, bleed into the eye and cause scarring increases.

Yearly eye exam protects diabetics from vision loss

The really good news is that there is at 95% that your eyes will stay healthy for years if the disease is detected and treated early.

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Even for those who have been diagnosed with retinopathy several treatments are available that can stop leakage of the blood vessels that causes macular edema.

More about diabetic retinopathy and treatment
What is macular edema?

Does Medicare pay for eye exams?

Did you know that many Medicare supplemental insurance plans will pay for an eye exam each year? You don’t have to have extra vision benefits. Some plans partner with eye care providers such as Sears, Target or LensCrafters to deliver zero co-payment exams to plan members. Check with your health insurance carrier for your individual coverage benefits.

This National Diabetes month take time to schedule your eye exam that in many instances can be no or low-cost to you.

6 things you should know about diabetes and your eyes:

  1. There are no warning signs
  2. Early detection and treatment is the only way to stop vision loss
  3. If you develop blurred vision and have diabetes it could mean fluid is leaking into the eye - see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
  4. Everyone at diabetes is as risk for retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma.
  5. There is no way to prevent the disease completely but controlling your blood sugar levels can greatly reduce your risk of diabetic eye disease.
  6. Getting an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam each year is important for anyone with diabetes.

National Eye Institute



The eye is one of the most complex parts of the body, I find and most interesting as well.