Truck Drivers and Diabetic Macular Edema

Truck Drivers and Diabetic Macular Edema

Effects of Diabetes Take Significant Toll on Those Dependent on Eyesight to Maintain a Living

Diabetes continues to impact the health and lifestyle of millions of Americans.  According to the 2012 Vision Problems in the U.S. report from Prevent Blindness America and the National Eye Institute, more than 7.6 million people ages 40 and older have diabetic retinopathy, an 89 percent increase from 10 years ago.

For those who depend on their vision for their livelihood, diabetes can have a devastating effect.  A new study entitled “Truck Drivers Suffer Significant Economic Burden Due to Diabetic Macular Edema,” by Sunir S. Patel, MD, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor at Texas Tech University of Medicine, et al, found that those in the commercial truck driving industry were at heightened risk for developing diabetes and diabetic macular edema (DME) due to:

  • Limited healthy food choices on the road.
  • Limited opportunities to exercise.
  • Unwillingness to start insulin therapy due to perceptions surrounding regulations on commercial vehicle operation and insulin use.

The study also found that the mean total annualized out-of-pocket costs for diabetes-and DME-related care was $4,743.

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that weakens the small blood vessels in the retina. Diabetic macular edema is a result of diabetic retinopathy and can lead to loss of central vision.  Some symptoms may include blurry or clouded vision, floaters or dark spots in vision, straight lines that do not appear straight (such as flag poles, street lights, etc.) and difficulty seeing in dim lighter tunnel vision.

We recommend that people with diabetes:

  • Get a dilated eye exam every year.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Increase your physical activity.
  • Watch and control your blood sugar levels.
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure.
  • Quit smoking.

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For more information on diabetic eye disease or vision problem please visit 20/20 or call 407-767-5600.


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