Eyes are one of the several body areas affected by diabetes. As detailed in this article, the main eye conditions are diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataract, and diabetic macular edema, which can lead to various complications and even vision loss. To minimize risk, it is crucial for you to know how to care for and protect your eyes.
Get a dilated eye exam
The longer you have diabetes, the greater are your chances of developing eye damage. The American Diabetes Association recommends having a comprehensive eye exam shortly after you’re diagnosed with diabetes and then at least once per year. If you develop diabetic retinopathy, your health care team may suggest several exams per year depending on the severity of your condition.
Keep your blood sugars in check
Meticulous blood sugar control not only helps protects your eyes from being damaged in the first place but may also reduce the severity of eye disease and prevent your vision from worsening.
Keep your blood sugar readings under control by:
- Eating a balanced, healthy diet with small portion sizes spread throughout the day
- Testing your blood sugars often
- Following your medication routine
- Exercising for at least 150 minutes every week
- Sleeping at least 7 hours nightly
- Using mindful techniques like meditation and counseling to cope with stress
Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
The A-B-C’s of diabetes are A1C, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol.
Both high blood pressure and cholesterol are often present with diabetes. Controlling BP and cholesterol are imperative since added pressure (BP) and narrowing vessels (cholesterol) can increase bleeding behind the eyes & increase the risk of blindness.
Smoking increases your chances of developing eye diseases like cataract, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. The harmful chemicals in a cigarette can directly damage your eye’s blood vessels—especially those of the macula—sometimes leading to complete loss of vision.
Invest in a good-quality pair of sunglasses
The risk of cataracts and macular edema are increased when ultraviolet rays from the sun keep hitting the eyes – protect them!