Diabetic eye disease is the number one cause of new cases of blindness in adults in the United States. Most people are surprised when I tell them that statistic, but it’s true. Every year, between twelve to twenty four thousand adults become blind because of diabetes.

The sad thing is, most of those cases are preventable. Despite that fact, fifty percent of diabetic patients don’t get regular annual eye examinations and worse, twenty-five to thirty-five percent of diabetic patients have never had a dilated eye examination.

You, the average person, can do something about this problem. But first, here’s some background about diabetes and diabetic eye disease. Almost nineteen million Americans have a diagnosis of diabetes. There are an additional seven million who have diabetes, but who have not yet been diagnosed. That means little over eight percent of Americans have diabetes.


In the lower Hudson Valley, Orange County and Putnam County are lower than the US average at 6.8 percent of the population with diabetes. Columbia County, Greene County and Ulster County are close to the US average. However, Dutchess County is above the US average with 10 percent of the population with diabetes.

Forty percent of patients with diabetes have some level of diabetic eye disease. A little over eight percent of patients with diabetes have vision threatening diabetic eye disease. In Dutchess County, we have ten percent of the population with diabetes. That means if you know ten people, one of them likely has diabetes. If you know twenty-five people, one of them is likely to have some form diabetic eye disease. If you know on hundred and twenty five people, one of them is likely to have vision threatening diabetic eye disease.

So, what can you do? If you know someone with diabetes, remind them to get an annual diabetic eye examination.

When patients get proper care for their diabetes, good things happen. When blood sugar is well controlled, the risk of diabetic eye disease is reduced by seventy-six percent. In patients who have diabetic eye disease, treatment reduces the risk of moderate vision loss by fifty percent. With appropriate treatment, there is only a two percent chance that a patient will suffer from severe vision loss from diabetic eye disease.

Here at Hudson Valley Eye Surgeons, we have board certified Ophthalmologists and Optometrists who are trained to recognize and treat diabetic eye disease. If you or someone you care about are either diabetic or at risk for becoming diabetic, we encourage you to take the first step towards the best possible eye health. Call our office today to make your appointment. We look forward to seeing you in order to make sure that you can look forward to seeing those you care about for many years to come