Excess glucose in the blood can cause damage to blood vessels in the eyes, causing them to swell and leak fluid. This condition is known as diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes can also increase the risk of cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic macular edema.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 90 percent of diabetes-related vision loss is preventable through early detection, but 60 percent of people with diabetes are not seeing their eye doctors regularly.
You can protect your vision by following these four tips:
Smoking can cause diabetic retinopathy to develop faster and make it more difficult to regulate blood glucose levels. Cigarettes and tobacco also increase your chances of having a stroke or a heart attack.
Protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation by wearing sunglasses that offer 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. Diabetes increases your risk for cataracts by 60 percent, so it is imperative to wear sunglasses whenever you are outdoors.
Exercise Daily and Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Daily exercise helps manage your weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Hypertension can accelerate leakage in retinal blood vessels, so exercise regularly and get regular blood pressure checks. As for your diet, choose high-protein, low-sugar foods that include plenty of leafy greens and an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids.
Make Regular Appointments with Your Physician Care Team
Good communication with your doctors, dentist and ophthalmologist is essential to properly manage your diabetes. Schedule annual comprehensive eye exams so your eye doctor can provide you with a complete evaluation of your vision health. If you are exhibiting signs of diabetic eye disease, your doctor can detect the problem and intervene early to help protect your vision.
Diabetic eye disease can develop without symptoms or warning signs, so call your eye doctor to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.