AAO declares November Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness month

October 31, 2007

San Francisco-According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness month. People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to become blind than those who do not have the condition, according to the AAO.

San Francisco-According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness month. People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to become blind than those who do not have the condition, according to the AAO.

A retired New York police department detective, Anthony Sclafani, knew he had a vision problem when he could not see the red or green of the traffic lights. His Type II diabetes was what was causing the problem and thanks to laser treatment and monitoring blood sugar levels, his vision is now better than it has been for years.

"The careful control of blood sugar may prevent, and in some cases, even reverse early damage from diabetic retinopathy," says K. Bailey Freund, MD, a clinical correspondent for the academy and Sclafani's doctor. "With treatment and follow-up, we can minimize vision loss, or in some cases, restore vision to better than it was before treatment. A key factor for success is the patient's commitment to keeping his [or her] blood sugar tightly controlled through diet."

If caught early enough diabetic retinopathy can be controlled before vision loss occurs with injectable and oral medications, according to the AAO.