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ADA updates guidelines on diabetic retinopathy

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has updated its 2002 guidelines for the prevention, assessment and treatment of diabetic retinopathy. The condition, which causes damage to blood vessels inside the retina, is a leading cause of blindness in people with diabetes.

Scientific and technological advancements over the last 10 years, as well as input from a team of ophthalmological experts who reviewed data from more than 45 research studies, helped to create the ADA’s new position statement.

Adults with type 1 diabetes should have a comprehensive eye exam within five years after onset of diabetes. Those with type 2 diabetes should have an eye exam when they’re diagnosed with the disease. Other recommendations to reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy or slow its progression include:

  • Keeping blood sugar levels tightly controlled.
  • Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels if they’re high.

Women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should speak with their provider to learn about their risk for the disease.

Be aware of the following diabetic retinopathy symptoms:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Dark or floating spots
  • Pain or pressure in one or both eyes
  • Problems with peripheral vision

If you have diabetes, contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms or have sudden vision changes.