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November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

Individuals Living with Diabetes Should Take Extra Care of Their Eyes

Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent and Diabetes Healthways, Atrium Health Navicent recognize November as Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Individuals living with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing conditions that affect their vision, including diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye condition and a leading cause of blindness among diabetic adults.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when blood vessels in the retina are damaged, resulting in leaking of the retinal blood vessels and blurred vision. In some cases, this disease can lead to blindness. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one-third of diabetic American adults over the age of 40 have diabetic retinopathy.

"As with many eye diseases, in the early stages of development, many times there are no symptoms. Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent has eyecare professionals who can diagnose diabetic retinopathy, along with other conditions associated with diabetes, through the use of a comprehensive dilated eye exam," said Monali Sakhalkar, M.D., ophthalmologist with Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent.

Laser eye surgery can close or shrink any abnormal optic blood vessels that can form because of diabetic retinopathy. These blood vessels, if untreated, can leak into the eye, impairing vision. This procedure can slow or stop fluid leakage from retina vessels. Another procedure, the injection of drugs into the eye, also prevents leakage and improves vision. If diabetic retinopathy progresses, it can result in the detachment of the retina or bleeding inside the eye, which can cause loss of sight or blindness if not treated early.

Warning signs for diabetic retinopathy are blurry vision, seeing "floating" spots, halos around lights, loss of central vision and loss of color vision, according to the CDC. The CDC recommends diabetic patients receive a comprehensive eye exam once a year. Though lost vision cannot be restored, diabetic patients can take steps to help maintain eye health by maintaining a healthy diet, staying active, not smoking and scheduling regular eye exams.

If you or a loved one has experienced vision problems, Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent can help. Contact us at 478-633-8033 or visit

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent, the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia, is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Providing more than 1,000 beds and offering care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region, Atrium Health Navicent provides care for healthcare consumers' through an academic medical center; community, pediatric and rehabilitation hospitals; urgent care centers; physician practices; diagnostic centers; home health; hospice and palliative care; and a life plan community. Atrium Health Navicent is dedicated enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally-recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. For more information, please visit