Ignoring Eye Exams is Risky

The retina is a layer of neural tissue in the back of the eye. Its ten layers of cells contain synaptic interconnections between neurons, and it is responsible for converting light and image formation into neural signals, and those signals are transmitted to the brain for visual recognition.

The importance of the retina to a medical professional and researchers is that it is the only part of the central nervous system that can be visualized and is studied directly. This is done via an ophthalmoscope. The information collected during the examination of the retinal pathway is important for helping to identify irregularities and brain function.

All of us should be getting our regular eye examinations to make sure our eyes are healthy, but the importance of people with diabetes getting their recommended exams is critical. In both type 1 and type 2 diabetics, the high blood sugar is highly involved in damaging the delicate blood vessels in the retina. This damage is called diabetic retinopathy. In diabetic retinopathy, serious complications can cause significant vision loss if left untreated. Sudden vision loss from these complications, such as, a vitreous hemorrhage, or tractional retinal detachment is extremely threatening issues that can cause blindness.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, in the article cited below, an alarming number of diabetics do not get their eye exams on a regular basis. The importance of dilated exams is critical due to the damaging effects associated with diabetic retinopathy.

“Sixty Percent of Americans with Diabetes Skip Annual Sight-Saving Exams”
American Academy of Ophthalmology reiterates the importance of dilated eye exams in preventing vision loss, OCT 20, 2016, Chicago

People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing serious eye diseases, yet most do not have sight-
saving, annual eye exams, according to a large study presented at AAO 2016, the 120th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Researchers at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia have found that more than half of patients with the disease skip these exams. They also discovered that patients who smoke – and those with less severe diabetes and no eye problems – were most likely to neglect having these checks.

The researchers collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review the charts of close to 2,000 patients age 40 or older with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to see how many had regular eye exams. Their findings over a four-year period revealed that:

• Fifty-eight percent of patients did not have regular follow-up eye exams
• Smokers were 20 percent less likely to have exams
• Those with less-severe disease and no eye problems were least likely to follow recommendations
• Those who had diabetic retinopathy were 30 percent more likely to have follow-up exams

One in 10 Americans have diabetes, putting them at heightened risk for visual impairment due to the eye disease diabetic retinopathy. The disease also can lead to other blinding ocular complications if not treated in time. Fortunately, having a dilated eye exam yearly or more often can prevent 95 percent of diabetes-related vision loss.

Eye exams are critical as they can reveal hidden signs of disease, enabling timely treatment. This is why the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends people with diabetes have them annually or more often as recommended by their ophthalmologist, a physician who specializes in medical and surgical eye care.

If you are experiencing any changes in your eye health, whether you are diabetic or not, such as blurry vision, pain, impaired vision, or any other ocular symptoms, it is imperative that you see an ophthalmologist right away. The earlier disease or disorders are detected, the better the outcome and treatment options are for you.

Personalized Retina Care of Naples provides incomparable diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment for retinal conditions and disorders. Dr. Taba is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist and is Fellowship trained in surgical and medical retinal diseases.

Dr. Katia E. Taba is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist who opened her practice, Personalized Retina Care of Naples, to provide individualized and patient-centered care in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Significantly, she will take the time to explain all aspects of her plan of care to the patient and family.

She acquired extensive experience from her prior role as an instructor and assistant professor at a teaching hospital and many years of training in both medical and surgical vitreoretinal diseases. All diagnostic equipment is the state-of-the-art for accurate diagnosis allowing the best visual results.

Often times same day appointments are available at our conveniently located facility in the center of Naples at the Pine Ridge Road and Livingston Road intersection, off of I-75 exit 107.

For more information, please call our office at 239-325-3970.

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