5 Steps to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease

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Patients with diabetes are at a high risk of developing various medical conditions, including heart and kidney disease. Unfortunately, diabetes can also put your vision on the line. 

Diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and diabetic neuropathy are all eye conditions that can result from diabetes. Fortunately, diabetes patients have various strategies at their disposal to prevent diabetic eye disease, including:

Step 1: Schedule An Annual Eye Exam.

First off, it’s crucial for diabetic patients to attend a once-yearly comprehensive dilated eye exam. This exam will be more extensive than a typical vision exam, allowing your ophthalmologist to identify and address warning signs of diabetic eye disease. 

Oftentimes, diabetic eye conditions don’t produce symptoms until the later stages, when vision loss may be more difficult to avoid. This makes regular eye exams critical to identify the early signs of problems in diabetic patients. 

Step 2: Focus on Blood Sugar Management.

Diabetic patients should always follow their physician’s guidance for blood sugar management. Controlling your blood sugar is essential for your overall health, including the health of your eyes. 

In patients with diabetes, uncontrolled blood sugar levels can alter the shape of the eye’s natural lens, leading to blurred vision. Additionally, high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels that supply the nerves and retina with oxygen and nutrients. This blood vessel damage is the start of most diabetic eye diseases that can jeopardize your vision. 

Step 3: Quit Smoking.

As a vasoconstrictor, nicotine increases your risk of developing diabetic eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy. So, quitting smoking is an effective way to protect your vision as a diabetic patient. 

Step 4: Manage Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol. 

High cholesterol and high blood pressure can make you more susceptible to vision loss from diabetic eye conditions. Attend regular physicals to check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and talk to your physician about how to effectively manage them. 

Step 5: Engage in Regular Exercise. 

Daily exercise is a win for virtually every aspect of your health, including your eyes and diabetes! It promotes insulin sensitivity, reduces the risk of heart disease, and helps with blood sugar control. Exercise even supports the health of your eyes. 

As a type 1 diabetic, Dr. Mahootchi provides expert, compassionate eye care for diabetic patients. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!