PeekaBoo! Exploring Eye Health and Diabetes in The Black Community

This article is sponsored by VSP Vision Care. All opinions expressed are my own.

I remember the first time I was fitted for glasses. I was in third grade. All the years prior to that were spent squinting and thinking that something was wrong with the fact that I just could not see. Looking back, I am not sure why it took making it to third grade for my mother and eye doctor to actually prescribe me glasses. I was born legally blind and have an astigmatism but you know how it can be in our households, we just do not go to the doctor. When I had my own daughter, I made sure to stick to the recommended guidelines for children having eye exams. Children should have their first eye exam at six months, then three years, and right before starting school. After that, there should be an eye exam every single year. 

Eye exams, while seemingly one of the less important doctor visits we can expect to book in our lifetime, are actually necessary. Eye exams are not just about determining you or your child’s need for glasses but can also detect signs of a wide range of chronic illnesses, ranging from certain types of autoimmune diseases, to cancer, to diabetes. In fact, diabetes is the #1 cause of vision loss. In our community, diabetes strikes at an all time high. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, African Americans are 60% more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to be diagnosed with diabetes. Black children are twice as likely to die from diabetes than White children. 

We are partnered with VSP Vision Care, the largest not for profit vision care company in the country to help bring awareness to the relationship between your eyes and diabetes and how to prevent diabetes through annual eye exams. As a Black woman, I know the importance of telling our community to book the eye doctor appointment because ultimately, it can save your vision and your life. Even if you have good vision, your eyes can still be unhealthy. Good vision is not necessarily a sign of good overall health and a comprehensive eye exam can help determine if further matters to your health need to be taken. 

What Is a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

While a regular eye exam checks for basic eye health, a comprehensive eye exam includes dilation of the pupil or non-invasive technology to analyze the retina. This allows your eye doctor to see the blood vessels in the back of your eye, giving them the ability to detect early signs of chronic health conditions.

A Conversation for Children And Parents

Vision loss related to diabetes can be prevented if the disease is detected early enough. A conversation about eye health is not just a conversation for children but for parents as well. When you book an eye exam for your children, book one for yourself. 

VSP Vision Care offers low cost coverage, access to a network of eye doctors, stylish eyewear – for children and adults, affordability, and low out of pocket costs for vision care. It is more important than ever to book an eye exam. You can now through VSP Vision Care.