Over 100 million Americans are diabetic or prediabetic. And, while diabetes has always been a risk factor for vision problems, like diabetic retinopathy, it can also elevate the risk for conditions like cataracts and glaucoma. Fortunately, regular preventative care with your general practitioner, general eye care provider, and eye specialist can help you maintain healthy vision for life. This Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, we’re sending you our top diabetic eye health tips.
1. Control your blood sugar levels.
Blood sugar levels can dramatically impact the entire body—including the eyes. Both high and rapidly changing levels are risk factors for retinopathy, a serious condition that can lead to vision loss. Plus, chronically high levels can lead to cataracts that form prematurely and progress rapidly.
A healthy diet, hydration, and exercise can all keep your blood sugar levels stable. If you need help determining more ways to maintain healthy levels, contact your general practitioner. Sometimes a simple fix like changing your medication could help balance levels significantly.
2. Get regular eye exams and see an eye specialist when needed.
Up to 60% of diabetic patients skip annual eye exams—despite having higher health risks. If you develop an eye issue, early treatment can lead to better visual outcomes.
Regular eye exams spot any asymptomatic problems, screen for diseases, and evaluate your overall eye health. However, if you notice any issues like blurry vision, flashes, dark spots, or vision loss in between exams, book an appointment immediately with your general eye care provider.
If you do have an issue, like cataracts, prompt treatment with a qualified specialist is always ideal. But early treatment is even more important for diabetic patients since eye surgery for diabetic patients poses unique challenges. The longer you wait to be diagnosed, evaluated, and treated, the less predictable your result could be.
3. Practice living a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy living is important for everyone. But, when you have diabetes, it is particularly important to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as refrain from smoking. Doing so can decrease your chances of developing eye diseases. By taking some initiative with your lifestyle choices, you can protect your eyes from vision-threatening conditions and maintain healthy eyes for life.
By following these tips, you can manage your health effectively. With proper preventative care, diabetes does not have to impact your vision. For more information or to make an appointment, call us today at 614-939-1600.