November is recognized as American Diabetes Month and Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month aims to increase awareness of diabetes and diabetic eye disease and encourage people with diabetes to seek treatment for related vision problems. According to Prevent Blindness America, Diabetes is now the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults, and all people with diabetes are at risk for vision loss and blindness.
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that diabetic persons may face as a complication of this disease including:
– A leading cause of blindness in American adults, it is caused by damage to the small blood vessels of the retina – the seeing layer of the eye.
Diabetic macular edema (DME)
– A complication of diabetes caused by leaking blood vessels, which leads to fluid accumulation in the macula, the center of the retina used for central vision. DME can cause central vision to become blurry.
– The clouding of the lens in the eye, which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. Cataracts can cause vision to become blurry.
– Optic nerve damage and possible loss of side vision, usually caused by increase in fluid pressure inside the eye.
Today, 3.6 million Americans age 40 and older suffer from Diabetic Retinopathy (DR), DR in its early stages has no symptoms as it begins to damage the small blood vessels in the retina, causing them to leak fluid and blood. As the disease progresses, blood vessels become blocked and they may rupture, or new vessels will grow on the retina, leading to vision loss. Treatments are available to help prevent and manage long term effects of the disease but are most effective when detected early.
Eyecare professionals can greatly enhance their ability to provide early detection of diabetic retinopathy with the use of ultra-widefield (UWF™) optomap technology. optomap is specifically designed to provide an UWF image of the retina, and it is the only technology that captures 200-degrees of the retina a single capture and in less than ½ second. Because optomap images so far out in the periphery, where the damage from diabetic retinopathy often begins, it allows a clear look at the health of the retina in order to determine if there are any early warning signs of diabetic retinopathy. optomap can also be used to confirm a diagnosis, allowing eyecare professionals to initiate a plan of care as soon as possible.
In preventing vision loss in people with diabetes, primary interventions include regular, effective screenings to detect diabetic eye disease earlier combined with education to encourage patients to undergo yearly comprehensive eye examinations. Many clinicians agree that UWF is an important part of these examinations, this was discussed in an article by Dr. Paul Tornambe where he calls for the integration UWF imaging as both a practical and clinical asset to the management of patients with diabetes. UWF continues to evolve to address specific patient requirements, including looking at non-mydriatic imaging alternatives which are also designed to be more time efficient. optomap is clinically proven as a leader in imaging patients with diabetes to support the detection of diabetic retinopathy and related diseases.
Visit our website to learn more about the clinical benefits of utilizing ultra-widefield optomap in your practice or clinic.
Paul E. Tornambe, MD, FACS. Cover Story – Ultra-Widefield Imaging: Advancing the Understanding and Management of Diabetic Retinopathy. Retina Today, April 2015 http://retinatoday.com/2015/04/ultra-widefield-imaging-advancing-the-understanding-and-management-of-diabetic-retinopathy