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Are you at risk for diabetic retinopathy?
If you are diabetic, you are likely to develop some degree of diabetic retinopathy. Studies show that
25% of people with diabetes had some form of retinal changes after three to four years. After 15 years, an astounding 80% of people with
diabetes showed signs of diabetic retinopathy. There is a blood test called Hemoglobin A1c that has been shown in studies to correlate with the
risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. The Hemoglobin A1c test measures the average degree of control of your blood sugar over the previous
three months. The higher your A1c number, the greater your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, as well as the other complications of
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy.
In the early stages of this disease, called nonproliferative or background diabetic retinopathy you
may have little or no vision problems for years. The only way to tell if you have diabetic retinopathy is through a dilated eye exam. The
advanced stage is called proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Signs may include persistent blurry vision, fluctuating vision, distorted vision, blind
spots or sudden onset of new floaters.
Preventive care is key.
The best way to minimize the possibility of complications from diabetes is
preventive care. The risks of vision loss from diabetes can be reduced with periodic dilated retinal evaluations and by maintaining good general
health. Studies have shown that proper control of blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and weight can help preserve vision. If Dr. Sturgis or
Dr. Motto finds that you donï¿½t have diabetic retinopathy or that you have background diabetic retinopathy, annual dilated eye exams at least
once a year, or more often, may be recommended. If you develop proliferative diabetic retinopathy, then arrangements will be made for you to
see a board-certified retinal specialist for treatment. Todayï¿½s state-of-the-art laser procedures and medications can slow- or even halt- the
progression of proliferative diabetic retinopathy. For more information on diabetic retinopathy or to schedule an appointment, call New England