How can people with diabetes protect their vision?
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Vision lost to diabetic retinopathy is sometimes irreversible; however, early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent. Because diabetic retinopathy often lacks early symptoms, people with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. People with diabetic retinopathy may need eye exams more frequently. Women with diabetes who become pregnant should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam as soon as possible. Additional exams during pregnancy may be needed.
Studies such as the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) have shown that controlling diabetes slows the onset and worsening of diabetic retinopathy. DCCT study participants who kept their blood glucose level as close to normal as possible were significantly less likely than those without optimal glucose control to develop diabetic retinopathy, as well as kidney and nerve diseases. Other trials have shown that controlling elevated blood pressure and cholesterol can reduce the risk of vision loss among people with diabetes.
Treatment for diabetic retinopathy is aimed at treating diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. Comprehensive dilated eye exams are needed more frequently as diabetic retinopathy becomes more severe. People with more severe retinopathy require more frequent monitoring which will be individualized by your eye care provider.
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