The importance of regular eye screenings for diabetes patients

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 6:30 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - An estimated 25% of diabetes patients have undiagnosed diabetic eye disease, according to a 2016 study Diabetes, rates of which have steadily increased in the U.S. over the past decade, affects many aspects of people’s health and can lead to serious eye diseases like diabetic macular edema (DME). However, 87% of Americans do not receive routine eye care and less than half of diabetes patients get the recommended standard of care eye screenings, even though early detection is key to minimizing vision loss.

With Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month coming up, people should keep their eye health top of mind. Eye protection is vital year-round.


•        DME is caused by diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when too much sugar in the blood damages the retina.

•        Diabetic macular edema is characterized by fluid buildup in the retina, leading to blurry vision and even permanent vision loss.

•        Diabetic retinopathy is prevalent in approximately 40% of people with diabetes. Of the 7.7 million Americans with diabetic retinopathy, nearly 750,000 have DME.

•        Diabetic macular edema and diabetic retinopathy disproportionately affect Hispanics and African Americans.

•        The longer a person has diabetes, especially if it is poorly controlled, the higher the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and vision loss.

•        Diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema often have no early symptoms but can be diagnosed early with a dilated eye exam to help prevent progression.

Ahead of Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, Dr. Eichenbaum joined NewsChannel 7 at 4 on Thursday to discuss diabetic eye disease, including diabetic macular edema. He also talked about risk factors, symptoms and preventative measures everyone can take to stay on top of their eye health.

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