All people with diabetes — both type 1 and type 2 — are at risk. Since there is effective treatment if retinopathy is diagnosed promptly, diabetics should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.
- The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely he or she will get diabetic retinopathy
- Between 40 to 45% of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy
- People with proliferative retinopathy can reduce their risk of blindness by 95 percent with timely treatment and appropriate follow-up care
- Your ophthalmologist may recommend treatment to help prevent its progression
- During pregnancy, your chance for diabetic retinopathy may increase
The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) showed that better control of blood sugar levels slows the onset and progression of retinopathy and reduces the need for sight-saving laser surgery. However, blood sugar control may not be best for everyone, including some elderly patients, children under age 13, or people with heart disease. Be sure to ask your doctor if such a control program is right for you.
Other studies have shown that controlling elevated blood pressure and cholesterol can reduce the risk of vision loss. Controlling these will help your overall health as well as help protect your vision.