ROCKVILLE, Maryland – Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working age adults age 20-74. 7.7 million people currently have DR and it is expected to increase to 11 million by 2030. Diabetic eye disease includes diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataract, all of which can lead to vision loss or blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common. It occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina.
There are no early symptoms for diabetic eye disease. A dilated eye exam can detect diseases early before noticeable vision loss occurs. When diabetic retinopathy is detected early, treatment is 95% effective in preventing severe vision loss. Don’t wait until you notice an eye problem to have an exam. Vision that is lost often cannot be restored.
For more information on diabetic eye disease, tips on finding an eye care professional or financial assistance for eye care, visit www.nei.nih.gov/diabetes or call the NEI at 301-496-5248.