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Contact LenseDiabetic eye disease refers to a group of vision-impairing eye problems, such as diabetic retinopathy, as well as glaucoma and cataracts, which people with diabetes may develop. Those living with the condition should have a professional eye examination as soon as their diabetes is diagnosed, and at least once a year thereafter.

By detecting and treating diabetic eye disease early through annual, dilated eye exams, people with diabetes can preserve their sight. The standard therapy for diabetic eye disease is laser treatment, which is often combined with injections of similar drugs used to treat wet macular degeneration.

“Diabetic eye disease is similar to glaucoma in that, if you get regular examinations and changes are noted very early, it’s treatable. However, if you’ve already had significant visual loss prior to your eye exam, it is more difficult to treat,” Dr. Friedel, University of Maryland School of Medicine Professor of Ophthalmology, says.