Portland Maine Retina Specialists Offer Help to Prevent & Treat Diabetic Eye Problems

Top Quote In recognition of American Diabetes Month, retina specialists from Eyecare Medical Group wish to share important information to help our community prevent vision loss from the complications of diabetes such as diabetic retinopathy. End Quote
  • Portland-South Portland, ME (1888PressRelease) October 28, 2014 - According to the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes affects more than 26 million people or over 8% of the U.S. population-a number that is growing annually with no end in sight. Seniors are particularly affected with almost 11 million or 27% of U.S. residents aged 65 years and older having diabetes. Diabetes is a major risk factor for cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, which is the most severe of these three eye diseases and affects approximately 7.7 million Americans. More than 4 million, over 28% of people with diabetes aged 40 years or older had diabetic retinopathy, and of these, some 650-700,000 or almost 4% of all diabetics have advanced diabetic retinopathy that can result in severe vision loss. Diabetic eye disease continues to be the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults 20 to 74 years of age.

    Diabetic retinopathy is more than twice as common in Mexican Americans and nearly three times as common in African Americans as in non-Hispanic whites. Diabetic eye diseases can be prevented and their progression can be slowed through early detection and diligent diabetes care.

    "For certain, careful diabetes management is the best way to prevent vision loss. Although diabetic retinopathy is not curable, we do have treatments that can reduce the risk for vision loss including injections with medications such as Lucentis® and Eyelea®, laser treatments and vitrectomy surgery. Each of these treatments can help to can slow down the progression of vision loss and even restore vision in some instances. But-the best way to avoid vision loss is through prevention," said Maine Vitreoretinal Surgeon & Retina Specialist Scott Steidl, M.D.

    Preventing Vision Loss from Diabetes
    To help us, help you prevent and avoid vision loss from diabetes and detect and diagnose diabetic retinopathy and its complications as early as possible, we ask all diabetics to take the following steps:

    Get a Yearly Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam
    In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy often has no symptoms. "A yearly dilated eye exam allows us to examine the retina and optic nerve more thoroughly for signs of damage before changes in vision occur," commented EMG Vitreoretinal Surgeon & Retina Specialist Jackie Nguyen, M.D. "Regularly monitoring eye health allows us to begin treatment as soon as possible if signs of diabetic eye disease-cataracts, glaucoma and especially diabetic retinopathy-do appear. In particular we want to alert women with diabetes who become pregnant that they may need additional eye exams throughout their pregnancy, as pregnancy can sometimes worsen diabetic retinopathy," said Dr. Nguyen

    Maintain Normal Blood Glucose Levels
    "High blood glucose damages the tiny blood vessels in the eye-called microangiopathy. This damage can result in swelling in the retina including a common diabetic vision problem called diabetic macular edema, as well as the formation of abnormal fragile blood vessels that can bleed and form scar tissue in the vitreous and retina," noted Aaron Parnes, M.D., a Retina Specialist & Vitreoretinal Surgeon. "Also, high blood glucose levels are not good for the crystalline of your eyes. Elevated blood sugar can change the shape of lens causing blurry vision and can lead to cataract development," explained Dr. Parnes.

    Maintain Normal Blood Pressure & Cholesterol Levels
    High blood pressure and high cholesterol can increase the risk of eye disease and vision loss. Keeping both under control will help the eyes as well as overall health.

    Quit Smoking
    "Diabetics who smoke are absolutely at greater risk for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetes-related eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma," noted Scott Steidl, M.D., a Retina Specialist & Vitreoretinal Surgeon. "Further, we also know that smoking increases your risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD)-and that's just the eye disease risk. There is a great deal more overall vascular risk including heart disease and stroke associated with smoking."

    Get Regular Exercise
    "Getting regular exercise, even mild exercise, helps to maintain blood glucose levels, cholesterol levels and stay healthy. We know that mild to moderate exercise is helpful in reducing the risk of many eye diseases and problems," said Dr. Parnes.

    To learn more about Eyecare Medical Group in Portland Maine you may visit or or follow our eye care blog at

    For additional information, contact:
    Kathy Brackett, Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102, kbrackett ( @ ) eyecaremed dot com, 1-888-374-2020

    SOURCE: Medical Management Services Group, L.L.C.

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