CORONA, Calif., Nov. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- It's well understood that having too much glucose (also called sugar) in your blood from diabetes can damage a person's cardiovascular system and lead to such health problems as heart attacks and strokes. Lesser widely known is how frequently excess glucose can damage small blood vessels in the eye and lead to serious eye problems, including blindness. A recent study conducted by Everyday Health concluded that less than half of diabetics comprehend their risk of vision loss. Fewer still are aware of its prevalence. Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161108/437308LOGO Of the 29.1 million American adults with diabetes, it's estimated that 4.2 million of them will experience diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease. With November being National Diabetes Month and this year's National Diabetes Education Program's theme "Managing Diabetes—It's Not Easy, But It's Worth it", the important link between diabetes and eye problems should not be overlooked. Diabetic eye disease can affect four different parts of the eye, including the retina, the lens, the vitreous gel and the optic nerve. People with diabetes are at higher risk for cataracts, glaucoma and neuropathy, and more apt to be diagnosed with these conditions at a younger age. In addition to causing permanent vision loss if untreated, some conditions can lead to low vision, which means that you would not be able to see well enough to perform everyday tasks with the help of regular glasses, contact lenses, surgery or medicine. According to Dr. Richard Shuldiner, O.D. FAAO and founder of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists (IALVS): "When patients with serious eye conditions including diabetic retinopathy are told by doctors that there's nothing more to be done to improve their vision, IALVS doctors design special glasses to help them do the things they love." Dr. Shuldiner stresses, however, that early diagnosis is key to preventing vision loss. The National Eye Institute has recommended that people with diabetes get an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam from an ophthalmologist or an optometrist, which can prevent most instances of blindness or severe vision loss. Yet almost one-third of diabetics surveyed do not take this critical precautionary step.