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David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Set Your Sight on Healthy Vision if You Have Diabetes

Close up photo of a human eye with reading chart superimposed across the top.

If there’s one thing we take for granted more than anything it may be our senses, the ability to hear, touch, smell, taste and, maybe most importantly, to see.

So many of us are lucky enough to go through life without losing our senses, but that’s not true of everyone. Among those with the greatest risk of losing their eyesight are New Mexico residents living with diabetes.

According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetic eye disease is a group of eye problems people with diabetes may face as a complication of the disease, which can lead to vision loss or blindness. These include developing:

  • Cataracts (that’s the clouding of the lens of the eye),
  • glaucoma (damage to the optic nerve that affects the peripheral or side vision), or
  • diabetic retinopathy (the most common form of diabetic eye disease, which damaged the blood vessels in the retina)

Anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is at risk, and the longer a person has diabetes, the greater their risk of developing diabetic eye disease.

Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians and older adults in general are all at higher risk of losing vision or going blind from diabetes.

That’s a big deal here in New Mexico, where the New Mexico Department of Health reports diabetes affects approximately 204,000 or 1 in 8 adults. Of those adults with diabetes, about 26 percent don’t know they have it.

This problem is only going to get worse as New Mexico’s aging population continues to grow older. Based on the 2000 US census projections, by 2030 New Mexico will move from 39th in the nation to 4th in the percentage of people older than 65. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), 1.2 million Hispanics/Latinos already have diabetic retinopathy nationwide, and this number is projected to increase to approximately 3 million people by 2030.

So what can you do about it? The New Mexico Department of Health recommends anyone with diabetes have a dilated eye exam at least once a year to detect vision problems early.

Diabetic eye disease has no warning signs. Finding and treating the disease early, before it causes vision loss or blindness, is the best way to control diabetic eye disease.

Research has shown that when people with diabetes maintain good control of blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, they can slow the development and progression of diabetic eye disease. In addition to having annual comprehensive dilated eye exams, people with diabetes should do the following to keep their health on TRACK:

  • Track your medications.
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Add physical activity to your daily routine.
  • Control your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Kick the smoking habit.

For more information on diabetic eye disease and tips on finding an eye care professional or financial assistance for eye care, visit the Diabetic Eye Disease page. See the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program section of our website to learn more about activities to prevent or delay diabetes.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

Versión en Español

En un esfuerzo para hacer que nuestros comunicados de prensa sean más accesibles, también tenemos disponibles una versión en español. Por favor presione el enlace de abajo para acceder a la traducción.

Establezca Su Vista en una Visión Saludable si Tiene Usted Diabetes