Welcome to the November 2010 edition of At-A-Glance, Lighthouse International's low vision newsletter. November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month. Read our feature article on what you can do to fight diabetes and prevent vision loss.
Preventing Diabetes & Vision Loss
The number of adults in the United States with diabetes could double or triple by 2050, says a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Currently, about 24 million American adults have diabetes. That figure could rise dramatically in the next 40 years due to an aging population, increases in minority groups, and people with diabetes living longer.
An often overlooked aspect of diabetes is its connection to low vision and blindness. "People don't realize that diabetes is the number one cause of preventable blindness in working people," said Andrea Zaldivar, Director of the Geriatrics and Diabetes Center at Lighthouse International.
Even though diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in American adults, about half of Americans with diabetes have never had a retinal examination, leaving them either unaware of this serious complication or failing to take steps to prevent it. So what can you do to either prevent or treat diabetic eye disease?
If you have diabetes, it is recommended you receive a dilated eye exam at least once a year. You should also follow the "ABCs" of preventing diabetes complications (PDF file), which includes monitoring your average blood glucose level for the past two to three months, controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol, and refraining from smoking.
If uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to many complications. It's imperative that you take care of your vision, since it can impede how you take care of yourself. "We teach people with diabetes to read labels so they know the nutrition content of foods," Andrea Zaldivar said. "If you're experiencing even a mild degree of visual impairment ... it can greatly impact your ability to choose healthy foods. Also, people who use insulin can't see the numbers on the syringes, so they may make medication errors."
While the diabetes epidemic continues to grow in the United States, it's important to remember that diabetes doesn't have to lead to vision loss.
For more information on diabetic eye disease, visit lighthouse.org.
President Obama Signs 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act
On October 8, 2010, United States President Barack Obama signed into law the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. The legislation requires smart phones, the internet and television programming to include audible and visual notifications so they are accessible to anyone with a vision or hearing loss.
Q: Is it possible to have a second cataract operation on the same eye if the first operation was not successful?
A: There are risks involved with any surgery. If you had an unsuccessful cataract operation, then most cataract surgeons will be hesitant to operate on the same eye for increased risk of complications... Read on for the answer to this question and the rest of November's Ask the Expert selections.
The Lighthouse Store is your source for the latest products that can make your day-to-day life easier. Offering a vast selection of helpful, vision-friendly products, the November product of the month is a Clarity Cordless Telephone. This phone is hearing aid compatible and features up to 30 decibels of amplification in the high-frequency range.