Northwest NEWS

December 25, 2000

Features

Early detection is key to stabalizing diabetic eye disease

Because diabetic retinopathy often shows no early warning signs, members of the King County Optometric Society urge those with diabetes not to overlook the importance of a yearly dilated eye exam.
   Approximately 16 million people in America (308,000 in Wash. State) have diabetes, and one third don't even know it. Of those cases that are diagnosed, between 40 and 45 percent have some degree of diabetic retinopathy, a potentially blinding eye disease that is a complication of diabetes.
   People with diabetes can slow the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy and reduce the likelihood of vision loss through better control of blood sugar levels.
   Diabetic retinopathy is one of a group of eye problems, including cataracts and glaucoma, that may develop as a complication of diabetes. The longer you have diabetes, the greater the chance that you will develop diabetic retinopathy. If you have diabetes, you are 25 times more likely to lose vision than someone who does not have it. Call 1-800-562-1487 for information.