According to a 2011 study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in people 20 to 74 years old in the United States. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month with the purpose of increasing knowledge of the disease and its multitude of complications.

“Our providers are medical doctors who thoroughly examine patients’ eyes looking for early signs of diabetic eye disease,” said Taylor Smith, M.D., Jackson Eye Associates. “Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment and management of potential vision-threatening problems.”

Diabetes is a complex metabolic disease where your body is unable to produce insulin, produce enough insulin, or is incapable to effectively use it. Chronic high blood sugar, an unavoidable consequence of diabetes, can lead to a number of different diseases resulting in temporary or permanent vision loss. Cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic macular and diabetic retinopathy are the most common vision complications related to the disease.

“Diabetic retinopathy affects the eyes by damaging the small blood vessels in the retina, the part of the eye that senses light and send signals to the brain to see our surroundings,” said Alex Whittington, M.D., Jackson Eye Associates. “Many times, patients don’t know that they have diabetic retinopathy, which can be picked up on a routine eye exam.” An annual comprehensive eye exam is the first line of defense when detecting and preventing vision loss.

Jackson Eye Associates is the largest ophthalmology practice in Mississippi. JEA offers comprehensive eye care, as well as an optical boutique at each of its three locations in Jackson, Clinton, and Madison. For more information, visit JacksonEye.com or find JEA on Facebook or Instagram.

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