Eye Care After Diabetes
After a diabetes diagnosis, you may have a list of questions about what comes next for your health. Understanding the impact that diabetes can have on the eyes is an important and logical start. High blood sugar from diabetes can lead to blurred vision, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and even vision loss. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults ages 20 to 74. Before you panic about the ways diabetes can interfere with your vision, there are simple changes you can make in your lifestyle and daily routine to preserve your vision with eye care after diabetes.
Here are the top 5 ways to ensure eye care after diabetes:
- Maintain your numbers with glucose and cholesterol levels. If you keep these numbers in check, you will greatly reduce the risk of the three most common eye diseases of diabetics-glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes often increases LDL or “bad” cholesterol and lowers HDL or “good” cholesterol. High cholesterol is not just linked to diabetes but heart disease and stroke as well.
- Annual eye exams are necessary. Even if you do not notice any changes to your vision, diabetes can affect the eyes slowly and in some cases of diabetic eye disease, by the time you notice symptoms, the diseases have progressed so quickly that damage may be irreversible. Your eye doctor will perform a series of tests, including retinal imaging, to ensure the health in all parts and functions of the eyes. Retinal imaging allows the doctor to see in wider and greater detail the retina, optic disk and blood vessels. Even subtle changes in the eyes that may go undetected by oneself can be evaluated by a trusted physician to be sure any necessary treatment is offered to maintain your eye health.
- Regular exercise of 20-30 minutes per day of walking can help improve glycemic control as well as aid in weight loss and a whole host of health benefits. Cardiovascular exercise has been proven to reduce intraocular eye pressure, the fluid pressure inside the eye. As an aside, if you have been diagnosed with any eye problems, it is best to avoid exercises such as weightlifting or high impact workouts or any workout that places your head below the lower half of your body as these workouts can cause strain to the blood vessels in the eyes.
- Do not smoke. If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit for good. Nicotine can also lessen the effectiveness of insulin. Those with diabetes have an increased risk of developing a stroke or heart attack, and smoking can significantly raise that risk.
- Eat healthy. For those diagnosed with diabetes, a change in diet is the best way to maintain blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. Certain foods play a vital role in the protection of eye health as well. Proper nutrition includes a well-balanced diet of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc to help minimize the risk of developing eye diseases.
Associated Retina Consultants is a dedicated vision care clinic that specializes in a wide range of personalized and comprehensive eye care services. Give our team a call today at 602-242-4928 or visit our WEBSITE for more information.