Diabetic Eye Disease Month

Did you know Diabetes can affect your vision?

Diabetes is a debilitating disease affecting over 29 million Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one-fourth of this population is not diagnosed. Although most commonly associated with controlling blood sugar levels, diabetes is a systemic disease that, left untreated or poorly managed, can cause damage throughout the body including the heart, kidneys and retina. It is also a leading cause of blindness in the US (National Eye Institute).

November is recognized as National Diabetes Month. Take the time to learn your risk factors and, if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, learn how you can protect your vision.

Diabetes’ impact on the eyes

Diabetes causes progressive nerve damage and damage to the blood vessels leading to the retina, resulting in several types of diabetic eye disease:

  • Diabetic retinopathy: When the blood vessels are damaged, they will leak blood or other fluids, causing distorted vision and blindness.
  • Diabetic macular edema: The macula is in the center of the retina, and enables sharp central vision. Diabetic retinopathy can cause the macula to swell: blurring vision.
  • Cataracts: Although most people will develop cataracts, diabetics often develop cataracts earlier in life.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve due to elevated pressure in the eye. Diabetics are twice as likely to develop glaucoma than other people.

Diabetics can protect their vision and improve their health by:

  • Managing blood sugar levels through good nutrition, exercise and (if prescribed) medication;
  • Regular doctor visits to monitor HBA1C (blood glucose) levels and kidney function;
  • Annual complete dilated eye exams. In a dilated exam, your eye doctor can see things that might not be apparent through a routine vision screening.

For more information on Diabetic Eye Disease and protecting your vision, contact Performance Eyecare.

Don’t Take Your Eyesight For Granted

Many people tend to take several things in their lives for granted– their vehicles, their homes, their spouses, and so much more. Amongst that list is the ability to hear, taste, and perhaps most importantly, see.

Think about it – what would life be like for you if you had poor vision or no eyesight at all? You wouldn’t be able to drive. You’d find the things you love doing such as sewing, painting, and playing sports much more difficult.

According to the National Eye Institute, more than 3.3 million Americans 40 years old and older have low vision or blindness. The institute also claims that the figure will increase greatly by the year 2020.

How Can I Prevent Vision Loss?

Going to the eye doctor on a regular basis can help save your vision. In fact, you could even save your life.

When you visit your local optometrist or ophthalmologist for your yearly eye exam, you will know what kind of shape your eyesight is in. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist can also detect if you have any eye conditions such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, conditions that can go undetected and intensify until they wreak irreversible havoc on your vision.

If that isn’t amazing enough, your optometrist or ophthalmologist can also detect if you have any life-threatening issues when you receive your yearly eye exam. That small network of arteries in your retinas provides a great window to your overall health, and your eye doctor can determine your overall health, especially concerning blood pressure and brain health. Even very serious diseases such as diabetes, brain tumors, and cancer can be found when you get your eye exam.

Even though you may be in good health and your eyesight is doing well.  Eye health can change and deteriorate throughout your life, depending on how you treat your eyesight and if your current prescriptions are beneficial to your eyes or not.

We Help You Make Time!

At Performance Eyecare we know your time is important and we work hard to stay on schedule so our patients do not have to wait in our office. Typically, patients are examined and eyeglasses are selected in under an hour.  We also have locations all over the St. Louis Metro and Illinois Metro East, so you can find an office close to home or work.

Your eyes are one of the most important things that you have in your life. Call us here at Performance Eyecare at (618) 234-3053 to schedule your annual eye exam TODAY!

What Are Your Chances of Developing Macular Degeneration? Visit Us to Find Out!

EyeImagine doing your favorite activity right now. Perhaps you picture yourself reading your favorite book, sewing together a gorgeous quilt for your best friend, fixing up a car, or painting a landscape that would even make Monet jealous.

Now imagine yourself doing those same things with low vision or no vision at all. That’s what it would be like to partake in your favorite activities if you suffered from macular degeneration.

Perhaps you’ve heard the term “macular degeneration” but have no idea what it’s all about or maybe you shrug off the worry, thinking that it only strikes the elderly. We at Performance Eyecare are here to tell you that you should take the time out to get tested to ensure that you are not developing the disease that is a huge reason for causing vision loss in people across the world.

It’s true, macular degeneration is a common eye condition that mostly affects people in their 50s or older. What happens when you have macular degeneration is your macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see things in sharp, clear vision, is destroyed gradually, causing you to lose your vision in time. Sometimes the disease advances so slowly that you won’t have vision loss for a long time, and other times it progresses so quickly that you might experience vision loss in one or both eyes, making it hard to recognize your loved ones’ faces, drive your car, or do your favorite hobbies and activities!

So who is at risk for this disease? Macular degeneration typically occurs in those 50 years old and older, and as you age, your risk increases. Other risk factors include smoking and if anyone in your family has developed the disease at some point.

There are some schools of thought that believe that your lifestyle choices can make a difference in developing the disease, especially if you’re predisposed to the disease due to family history. Lifestyle choices such as avoiding smoking, exercising, maintaining a normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and eating a healthy diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish might help you prevent this disease.

The most important thing you can do to fight against macular degeneration, however, is to get tested. Seeing your eye doctor at least once a year for a complete eye exam can help ensure that you’re healthy, and the disease is much easier to deal with when it is detected early.

We at Performance Eyecare are happy to inform you that we will be holding a testing day at our office in Swansea on Thursday, January 31! We will be offering the MaculaRisk Genetic Test – the most advanced diagnostic tool for determining your risk of vision loss from macular degeneration – to all who come in on that day! Your health insurance will be billed, so your out-of-pocket expense that day will only be your copay, if you have one.

To schedule an appointment with us on our testing day or to make a regular appointment for an eye exam, just call us here at (618) 234-3053 in Swansea or (314) 878-1377. Be sure to check us out online at www.PerformanceEyecare.com to see what we can do for you!