November is recognized as National Diabetes Month in the United States, and it is a time when communities across the country bring attention to a disease that impacts millions of Americans. This month we sat down with Dr. Evans to talk more about National Diabetes Month and how diabetes can affect your vision. Dr. Bryant C. Evans, O.D. received his Doctorate of Optometry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He now practices primary care optometry at the Kentucky Eye Institute.

1. How does diabetes affect vision?
It can affect vision in many ways. Most uncontrolled diabetics will notice vision fluctuations. These episodes are related to the fluctuation of the person’s blood sugar and are temporary. The more concerning effect on vision is partial or complete vision loss. This is often related to Diabetic Retinopathy. **Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication caused by damage to the blood vessels in the back of the eye.

2. What tests are done to determine if your vision is being impacted by diabetes?
A complete and dilated eye exam is needed to determine if diabetes is affecting the eyes.

3. How is diabetic eye disease/retinopathy treated?
It depends on the severity of retinopathy or other eye conditions related to diabetes. Treatment can range from simple changes in diet and exercise, all the way to major ocular surgery.

4. Does diabetic retinopathy get worse?
If left untreated, retinopathy can result in blindness.

5. Can a person have diabetic retinopathy without having any noticeable visual difficulties?
Yes. This is why it is very important for all Diabetic patients to get their eyes checked annually. Even patients that don’t notice any changes in their eyes need annual eye exams.

6. Are diabetics able to use contacts?
That is something that will need to be discussed with the eye doctor.

7. What are the best ways to prevent diabetic retinopathy?
Work closely with your primary care doctor or specialist on diabetic control and maintain annual eye exams.

8. How often should someone with diabetes get their vision checked?
Yearly. A patient should always see an eye doctor for any significant vision changes as well.

When living with diabetes, it is important to know that it can affect many parts of your body, including your vision. For more information on Diabetic Retinopathy and other eye questions, call the Kentucky Eye Institute to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor today. Our optometrists and ophthalmologists are located in Lexington, Corbin, Cynthiana, Jackson, Maysville, Middlesboro, Morehead, Mt. Sterling, Paintsville, and Versailles.