NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — More than 11% of the U.S. population has diabetes.

According to a news release, and a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 38% of adults 18 and older have prediabetes.

Diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness among those aged 18-64 according to a Prevent Blindness news release.

Dr. Daniel Laroche, a top New York City eye specialist, said, “To help prevent diabetes, it is essential to have an excellent diet with salads, vegetables, and fruits, and reduced bread and rice intake. Exercise 30 minutes a day. Meditate for 15-30 minutes a day. Drink green tea, and reduce sleep apnea and snoring by sleeping on the side and not directly on your back. Controlling weight helps to reduce diabetes and retinopathy.”

People with diabetes may not know the damaging effects it can have on vision.

“Regular dilated eye examinations are essential to detect diabetic retinopathy early and provide vision-saving treatments when ready,” Dr. Laroche added.

Dr. Laroche is a glaucoma specialist, and he wants people to be aware that glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and retinopathy can begin to come up between 40 and 70 years old.

“Over time, these diseases can lead to blindness, so it’s best to address them as soon as possible,” said Dr. Laroche. “We have new treatments with earlier surgical options that can help preserve (or restore) their vision with faster recovery times.”

A simple way to prevent the effects of glaucoma is by maintaining regular eye visits.

“Eyesight or human vision is one of the most important senses,” Dr. Laroche said. “As much as 80% of what we feel comes through our sense of sight. By protecting the eyes, people will reduce the chance of blindness and vision loss while also staying on top of any developing eye diseases, such as glaucoma and cataracts.”