If you have diabetes, prevention of eye diseases related to your condition should be something you take to heart. Diabetes-related eye disease can impair your vision and even cause blindness. That’s why it’s important to be informed and take care of yourself.
Types of Diabetes-Related Eye Disease
There are two forms of diabetes-related eye disease and they each have different causes. For instance, diabetes-related retinopathy occurs when small blood vessels leak and bleed in the retina. This can be problematic, because the retina acts like the film in the camera of the eye to help you see.
Diabetes-related retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in American adults and it affects about 25 percent of patients with the disease. A small percentage (about 4 percent) have severe cases of retinopathy. The second type, diabetes-related macular edema, happens when the retina becomes swollen due to leaky blood vessels. It can cause your vision to become blurry.
Prevent & Manage With a Healthy Lifestyle
The good news is that diabetes-related eye disease can often be prevented or managed with a healthy lifestyle and a doctor’s care. As far as lifestyle goes, people with diabetes are advised to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to manage their blood sugar levels. In addition to watching carbohydrate intake, they should try to incorporate vital nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, Lutein and zeaxanthin and zinc — all of which are a boon to eyesight. Generally speaking, a diet rich in lean protein, healthy fats and lots of fruits and vegetables is ideal. Remember, the more color on your plate the better!
If you or a loved one are concerned about how diabetes might affect eyesight, know that you don’t have to go it alone. Prevent Blindness’ Diabetes & the Eyes Educational Toolkit offers educational materials on diabetes and the impact of diabetes on eye health in both English and Spanish. These materials are intended for healthcare professionals, community health educators, diabetes educators, and anyone in a caregiving or diabetes education role.
When in doubt, see an eye doctor for additional help and guidance if you’re worried about how a current or potential diagnosis of diabetes can affect your precious eyesight. An experienced optometrist can work with your medical team to accurately diagnose and treat a number of health conditions. With a preventive approach to care, you can preserve eye health and vision as you age. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam today and enjoy peace of mind.