Eye Care After Diabetes
To keep your vision sharp, it’s important to take good care of your health so you can prevent problems related to diabetes.
Over time, high blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels in your eyes and this can lead to a condition called diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar can also lead to cataracts and glaucoma which occur earlier and more frequently in people with diabetes.
These tips can help you manage your diabetes and protect your eyes:
Maintain Regular Vision Exams. Schedule appointments with your eye doctor at least once a year so that any problem can be detected early and treated. During a retinal examination in Phoenix, your doctor will use special drops to widen (dilate) your pupils and check the blood vessels in your eyes for signs of damage from diabetes.
Control Your Blood Glucose. If you keep your blood sugar levels steady, you can slow the damage to the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. Several times a year you should have an HbA1c blood test. This test shows your glucose levels over the past 2 or 3 months.
Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control. High blood pressure can lead to eye disease. If you have high blood pressure and diabetes, you need to be even more careful about how you manage your conditions.
Regularly Monitor Your Cholesterol Levels. All it takes is a blood test to find out how much “bad” (LDL) and “good” (HDL) cholesterol you have. Too much LDL is linked to blood vessel damage.
Maintain a Healthy Diet. Healthy eating helps keep your blood sugar in your target range. It is a critical part of managing your diabetes because controlling your blood sugar can prevent the complications of diabetes.
Don’t Smoke. Smoking causes problems with your blood vessels which makes you more likely to develop eye trouble. It’s not easy to quit, so don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for help. Or go to a support group or a quit-smoking program.
Stay Active. Exercise can have a substantial influence on blood sugar. If you use insulin or medication to lower your blood sugar, ask your doctor what type of exercise is appropriate for you.
If you have diabetes, you should make an appointment to see your eye doctor if you experience any visual problems or notice any changes in your vision. Seek immediate medical care if you experience the following:
- Blurry vision
- Black spots
- Flashes of light
- Partial or complete loss of vision in one or both eyes
To learn more about diabetes eye care or to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, contact Associated Retina Consultants at 602-242-4928 or associatedretinaconsultants.com.