Among a diabetic’s main concerns are maintaining a healthy diet and blood sugar (glucose) levels. This is because high blood sugar can affect other body functions both permanently and irreversibly. Therefore, there are several preventive measures people with diabetes should take to ensure they are in the best health possible. One such measure is getting a yearly eye check ups to rule out eye diseases, including diabetic eye, cataracts, and glaucoma.
The month of January is dedicated to raising awareness about glaucoma, a disease that can potentially blind its victims and isn’t limited to people with diabetes. In fact, people over age 60 are at a higher risk of getting glaucoma. Quite frequently, by the time people are diagnosed, they’ve already noticed changes to their side, or peripheral, vision.
It’s important not to wait until you notice problems with your vision to see your eye care professional.
“Studies show that at least half of all persons with glaucoma don’t know they have this potentially blinding eye disease,” said National Eye Institute (NEI) director Dr. Paul Sieving. “The good news is that glaucoma can be detected in its early stages through a comprehensive dilated eye exam.”
A comprehensive dilated eye exam is a procedure in which an eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate (or widen) the pupil to examine the back of your eyes and your optic nerve for signs of disease. This exam may help save your sight because when glaucoma is detected early, it can be controlled through medications or surgery.
It is very important that those at higher risk for glaucoma—which includes everyone over age 60, especially Latinos, and those with a family history of the disease—get a comprehensive dilated eye exam every 1 to 2 years.
A low-cost exam may be available to beneficiaries through Medicare. For more information, call 1–800–MEDICARE or visit www.medicare.gov. For additional information about glaucoma, visit www.nei.nih.gov/glaucoma or call the National Eye Institute at 301–496–5248.
Salud y Bienestar (Health and Well-Being) is NHCOA’s national flagship program that educates and informs Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers on how to prevent and/or manage diabetes and its complications. The program, sponsored by the Walmart Foundation, has helped thousands of Latino seniors and families over the last several years make healthier lifestyle changes.