Friday, March 16, 2012

Staying healthy can help prevent vision loss

Today’s guest blog is by Jeff Todd, JD, MS, chief operating officer with Prevent Blindness America. Todd joined Prevent Blindness America in 2003, bringing with him a background in social service-related community-development with a primary focus on issues affecting the nation’s young people. As COO, he ensures integration of efforts across the organization’s departments, oversees internal operations and works to expand external partnerships and communication within the vision and eye health community.

Take a moment to think about some of your favorite activities. Would you still be able to do those things without your sight?

Most people think that blindness or severe visual impairment can’t happen to them, but vision loss affects millions of Americans. And the numbers will continue to spiral upward due to our aging population and skyrocketing cases of diabetes.

Today, more than 25 million Americans have diabetes. In addition to other ailments, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among those 20 years of age and older.

There is no cure for diabetic eye disease or diabetes, for that matter. So, what can we do to help save our vision and our overall health from diabetes?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Eating a healthy diet, exercising, monitoring blood pressure and blood sugar levels and quitting smoking can significantly increase your chance of protecting your vision.

But another important factor in maintaining healthy vision is regular eye care. For those who have diabetes or pre-diabetes, visiting your eye doctor once a year is essential. Early detection and treatment are crucial to the success of preventing vision loss from all forms of eye disease.

Prevent Blindness America recently launched the Live Right, Save Sight! program, which offers steps people can take today to save vision in the future. By simply logging onto, you can take an online risk factor quiz as well as learn about how diabetes damages the eye, treatment options and other facts.

Some symptoms of diabetic eye disease may include:

• blurry or clouded vision;

• floaters or dark spots in vision;

• straight lines that do not appear straight, such as flag poles, street lights, etc.;

• difficulty seeing in dim light; and

• tunnel vision, also known as peripheral vision loss.

Take the quiz today and see what your risks are.

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