Eye disease a less-known result of diabetes; Clemson Eye supports the Walk to Stop Diabetes on Sept. 19

GREENVILLE, SC (August 27, 2015) – Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in South Carolina and third most common disease among adults across all 50 states. More than 11 percent of the population of South Carolina has the disease. Alarmingly, this rate is increasing, particularly in the Upstate. There are many serious complications to diabetes, but its impact on visual health is less well known and understood.

As part of its commitment to public education, Clemson Eye is pleased to be a sponsor of this year’s Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes event held by the American Diabetes Association to raise awareness of the impact of diabetes on vision, and encourage early diagnosis and treatment.

Diabetes is a factor in a number of serious eye conditions. According to the American Diabetes Association, if you have diabetes, you are:

  • Forty percent more likely to have glaucoma. Glaucoma is caused by pressure building up in the eye. Because it has no symptoms, glaucoma often is not identified until it is advanced and the vision loss is irreparable.
  • Sixty percent more likely to have cataracts. Cataract treatment for non-diabetics is a very safe and common procedure. However, for diabetics with retinal disorders, cataract surgery can be more complex.
  • At extremely high risk of developing a series of related conditions under an umbrella called “Diabetic Retinopathy.” These conditions are caused by high sugar or glucose levels damaging blood vessels in the eye and potentially spurring the formation of microaneurysms.

Ophthalmologist, Donald Glaser, MD, of Clemson Eye says “Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adult patients. Eye diseases and conditions related to diabetes can be treated and damage prevented,” he says, “but early diagnosis and treatment are crucial.”

“As the prevalence of diabetes grows,” says Dr. Glaser, “it is more important than ever for us to educate the public on the importance of regular eye exams, as well as related nutrition and lifestyle factors.”

Despite the increased risks, almost 40 percent of diabetics in South Carolina do not get an annual eye exam, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This is particularly significant in the Upstate, Dr. Glaser says, where the diabetes rate in Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson and Pickens averages 12 percent, compared with the U.S. average of 9.3 percent. “We have more people at risk here,” he says.

Stop by the Clemson Eye booth at the Walk to Stop Diabetes on Sept. 19, starting at 9 a.m., at Hubble Lighting on the CU-ICAR campus in Greenville to learn more.

Additional availability: To set up an interview with Dr. Glaser, please contact Laura Haight at 864-322-3179.


Clemson Eye has been a leading provider of visual health for Upstate residents for the past 40 years, providing them with comprehensive ophthalmologic, Lasik and medical aesthetics services. Clemson Eye has five convenient locations in Greenville, Anderson, Easley, Clemson, and a Lasik center, Spectrum Lasik, in Greenville. Its American Board Certified Ophthalmologists have performed more than 50,000 cataract, LASIK and microsurgical procedures.

For more information call 855-654-2020 today or click here to schedule an appointment.