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Diabetes & Vision: What One Needs to Know

(audience cheering) – Did you know that having
Type I or Type II diabetes can affect your vision? – [Audience Members] Yes. – Diabetic Retinopathy or DR occurs when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. And the longer you have diabetes and the less controlled
your blood sugar is, the more likely you are
to be at risk, Drew. – But you know one of the issues in the early stages of
diabetic retinopathy, there may not be any symptoms. You know, that’s a problem. Something’s going on and
you’re not even aware of it. But as the condition progresses, a person may experience
spots or dark strings floating in their vision,
blurred or fluctuating vision, impaired color, dark or
empty areas in vision, difficulty driving at
night, or vision loss. – And both eyes could be affected. DR is the leading cause of blindness among working age Americans. Dr. Holly Phillips
visited retina specialist Dr. Allen Ho for information
on screening for DR. – I’m here today with Dr. Allen Ho. Talk to us about the importance
of diabetic eye screening. – Sure, I’m here on behalf
of retina specialists and eyecare providers across the country and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to raise awareness about
diabetic retinopathy, unfortunately the number
one cause of blindness in working age Americans. But there is good news. Thankfully, early detection,
careful monitoring and available treatment
may reduce severity and prevent vision loss in many cases. – So what does an eye look like when it has diabetic retinopathy,
which we also call DR? – Let’s first look at a healthy eye. This is a picture of the retina and you see no evidence
of bleeding or leakage. If you look at patient
with diabetic retinopathy, you can see here’s circled
multiple areas of bleeding or retinal hemorrhages and
it’s this bleeding and leakage that can lead to vision loss or even more severe complications
of diabetic retinopathy. – So if screening indicates
that you do have DR, what are the next steps? – If you do have DR, then you should speak to
your eyecare professional about what to do, when to be seen again, and whether or not treatments might be appropriate for you at that time. – But even if screening
shows a healthy retina, people who have diabetes should still schedule regular visits with their eyecare professional to discuss how to protect against DR and the related conditions. Isn’t that right? – Absolutely. – So how can people learn more
about how to get screened? – Your eyecare professional can screen for diabetic retinopathy. Regeneron is also planning
free diabetic eye screens at local community, health,
cultural, and sporting events around the country. Go to the Look for Your
Future Facebook page to find out if there’s a
screening event near you. And if there’s not a program there now, check back because more are being added around the country all the time. – Thanks so much for being here and all the great information
and resources, Dr. Ho. And doctors, back to you in the studio. – A big thanks to Dr. Holly and Dr. Ho. Eyecare is such an important part of a comprehensive approach
to managing your diabetes. – You know, and with
every system in the body, there are keys that you can do to improve your overall health, and your eye health is no exception. So eating healthy, exercising regularly, and working with your healthcare team are all important. This can help lower
your risk of vision loss or blindness from diabetic retinopathy. – So be sure to see your
eyecare professional for regular screenings and stick around. We have more to come.

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