Yes, a yearly dilated eye exam is recommended in all diabetics. Diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss for Americans under the age of 74. Diabetic retinopathy affects about 30 percent of all diabetics. Diabetic retinopathy is the ocular disorder caused by the breakdown of blood vessels (secondary to high glucose levels) in the retina which can cause swelling of the retinal tissues resulting in blurred vision. Often early stages of diabetic retinopathy have no visual symptoms which is why a yearly dilated exam is recommended to evaluate for changes. Early detection and treatment can limit the potential for significant vision loss. However, if left untreated this can lead to blindness.
Therefore, before taking that second serving of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving think about how you can prevent your chances of diabetic retinopathy by taking your prescribed medication, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, controlling high blood pressure, avoiding alcohol and smoking and seeing your eye doctor for your yearly dilated diabetic exam.