If you have diabetes, odds are you'll end up with some type of vision loss. The sooner you get ahold of your blood sugar, the lower the chance your vision could be impacted.

"My mother had diabetes, and some of her brothers had diabetes. I believe her sister has had diabetes," said 60-year-old Dennis Sutherland who found out he had diabetes himself about 25 years ago.

Like three out of five diabetics, he was unaware of the connection between the disease and vision loss, also called diabetic retinopathy.

"Changes to the blood vessel in the retina that can occur from diabetes, which can affect a person's vision and can ultimately lead to blindness," said University Health System physician Dr. Patrick Pierre.

Sutherland is one of more than 5,000 people that have been screened by University Health System's IRIS program, which kicked off last May, and checks the health of the eye during a regular office visit.

"They said I would need glasses for reading small stuff," Sutherland said.

"We can prevent falls. We can prevent accidents from occurring. Overall, we are able to improve the patient's quality of life," Pierre said.

Thankfully for Sutherland, his eyes are in fairly good health, only affected by his many years as a carpenter.

"Working with blueprint reading and working in dark rooms does mess with your eyes. That's what the doctors told me. Now I wear reading glasses," said Sutherland.

He said with reading glasses, and a good hold on his diabetes, he's hoping his eye health doesn't change.

For more men's health information, call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of our Real Men Wear Gowns stories at wearthegown.com.