How to lower your risk for diabetic eye disease
At this time, as doctor visits have been put on hold or canceled, it is crucial we do everything we can to maintain our eye health. It may come as a surprise to learn that diabetes can contribute to a number of eye problems, and that it can be the cause behind blurry vision and other symptoms you may be experiencing. The optometry specialists at Eye Medical Center of Fresno are dedicated to treating patients with diabetic eye disease and want to share with you their tips for preventing vision loss through diabetes.
What is the Connection Between Diabetes and Eyes?
Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce or use insulin effectively to control blood sugar levels. Too much blood sugar results in damage to blood vessels, including the blood vessels in your eyes. Diabetes can be responsible for a number of eye diseases:
- Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when diabetes affects the blood vessels in your retina, causing them to leak, swell, or close off. The longer you have diabetes, the more at-risk you are for developing this condition.
- Glaucoma is the result of fluid buildup in your eye that damages the optic nerve; this damage is permanent and can lead to vision loss. Diabetes doubles your chance of getting glaucoma.
- Diabetic macular edema occurs when fluid builds up in the retina. It can lead to permanent vision loss.
- Cataracts happen when excess blood sugar clouds lenses. Surgery is required to remove lenses that are clouded permanently.
How to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease
The key to reducing your chances of developing diabetic eye disease is to start prevention measures early. Here are five steps you can take now to prevent vision loss.
1. Control your blood sugar
A healthy diet can help control high blood sugar. This includes eating more fiber-rich foods and practicing portion control (i.e. eating until you’re full and not overeating). Be sure to talk to your general doctor before making any changes to your diet.
Regular exercise can lower your blood sugar and boost your sensitivity to insulin. If you’re new to exercise, a twenty-minute walk every day is a good start. Again, you’ll want to talk to your regular doctor to see which exercise is right for you.
3. Quit smoking
There are many reasons to give up this habit, including lowering your risk for diabetic eye disease.
4. Lower your blood pressure
One of the things you can do to decrease your risk for eye disease is lower your blood pressure. Start by eating and sleeping well, drinking less alcohol and caffeine, and managing stress through meditation, walking, yoga, or deep breathing.
5. See your ophthalmologist yearly
The only sure way to monitor your eye health is to see your eye doctor regularly. A yearly exam can help your ophthalmologist check for damage to your retina or optic nerve—they can spot problems before you begin to notice any changes to your vision.
Develop Healthy Habits to Protect Eye Health
In times of great stress, it’s tempting to abandon healthy practices. Indulging in cravings to improve your mood every so often is understandable, but it’s important to remember that good eye health depends on good habits.
If you have questions or concerns about your eyes, be sure to contact Eye Medical Center of Fresno at (559) 486-5000.