During Healthy Vision Month in May, the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) urges adults to schedule an eye examination to check for early signs of diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the 2 leading causes of new cases of vision loss and blindness among adults.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects more than 4 million Americans and results in the most new cases of blindness in typical working-age adults age 20-74. An estimated 15 million adults also have some form of macular degeneration, which can progress to an advanced stage in more than 100,000 people age 60 and older each year and lead to blindness if not detected and treated promptly.
These diseases can severely damage the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye that provides clear, sharp images. Symptoms include blurred or distorted vision, spots or shadows in the field of vision, difficulty reading or recognizing faces, and vision loss. Often, both diseases go undetected for years until these noticeable changes occur.
No one should take their vision for granted. During a routine examination, an ophthalmologist can see early signs of these and other retinal diseases, long before vision loss begins and, if diagnosed, refer the patient to a retina specialist who can begin a treatment regimen to prolong vision.
Retina specialists are highly trained physicians who specialize in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and other eye conditions and diseases. These physicians treat patients by slowing the progression of AMD, diabetic retinopathy, and other retinal diseases and making living with them very manageable.
Take the first step in preserving vision. Visit www.savingvision.org to learn about these and other retinal diseases and locate a retina specialist.