According to the 2022 National Diabetes Statistics Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 11% of the U.S. population (approximately 37.3 million people) has diabetes.
The study also found that 38% of adults 18 and older in the U.S., some 96 million people, have prediabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness among adults from 18 to 64, according to a Prevent Blindness news release.
Dr. Daniel Laroche, a top New York City eye specialist, said, “To help prevent diabetes, it is essential to have an excellent diet with salads, vegetables and fruits, and reduce bread and rice intake. Exercise 30 minutes a day. Meditate for 15-30 minutes a day. Drink green tea, and reduce sleep apnea and snoring by sleeping on the side and not directly on your back. Controlling weight helps to reduce diabetes and retinopathy.”
Many people with diabetes may not know about the damaging effects the disease can have on vision. “Regular dilated eye examinations are essential to detect diabetic retinopathy early and provide vision saving treatments when ready,” he added.
Dr. Laroche is a glaucoma specialist who wants people to be aware that glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and retinopathy can begin to surface between the ages of 40 and 70.
“Over time, these diseases can lead to blindness, so it’s best to address them as soon as possible,” said Dr. Laroche. “We have new treatments with earlier surgical options that can help preserve (or restore) their vision with faster recovery times.”
Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in African Americans and people from the Caribbean, and the simple way to prevent the devastating effects of glaucoma is to maintain regular eye visits.
“Eyesight or human vision is one of the most important senses,” Dr. LaRoche said. “As much as 80 percent of what we feel comes through our sense of sight. By protecting the eyes, people will reduce the chance of blindness and vision loss while also staying on top of any developing eye diseases, such as glaucoma and cataracts.”