Have Diabetes? 4 Ways to Take Care of Your Eyes
When you have diabetes, you need to be mindful of all aspects of your health, including your eye health. As someone with diabetes, your risk of developing specific eye diseases - such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and diabetic macular edema - is increased.
You can lower your risk of contracting one of the many eye complications associated with diabetes by taking proper care of your body.
1. Get an Eye Exam Every Year
When you have diabetes, you need to make sure that you closely monitor your eye health. Many of the eye conditions listed above often do not have noticeable symptoms that you can detect on your own in the early stages. That is why it is so important to have your eye health monitored by an eye doctor when you have diabetes.
With diabetes, you need to get an eye checkup at least once a year. When you go to the eye doctor, you need to make sure that they know that you have diabetes. The doctor will dilate your eyes to examine the optic nerve and retina for damage.
An eye doctor can detect damage and changes in your eyes before you notice a change to your vision and can start intervention and treatment to protect your eyesight.
2. Keep Your Blood Sugar Under Control
You need to monitor your blood sugar on a daily basis. If you don't monitor your blood sugar over time, you may not realize that you are at risk for hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia is the buildup of sugar in your body, which can lead to serious complications for your body, including your eyes. Hyperglycemia can damage the blood vessels in your eyes and can lead to blurred vision as well.
You can manage your blood sugar by logging the food that you eat. There are lots of phone apps that make this task easier.
You should be monitoring your blood sugar with a blood sugar monitoring and injecting insulin if necessary. You need to work with your doctor to make sure that your blood sugar is under control at all times.
3. Ditch the Tobacco
Next, you need to ditch the tobacco if you smoke or vape. It is well-known that consuming tobacco can contribute to both lung cancer and heart disease.
However, many people don't realize that smoking can have a negative impact on your eye health as well. Smoking can increase your chance of contracting a wide variety of diseases, which are often the same ones that you have an increased risk of contracting due to diabetes, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.
Smoking while having diabetes increases your risk of contracting a damaging eye disease. That is why it is important to start a smoking cessation program if you also have diabetes.
You can work a program on your own, or you can work with a medical professional to help you stop smoking. A doctor can help you manage your withdrawal symptoms and help you establish healthy habits that will save your eyes and your overall health.
4. Monitor Your Cholesterol & Blood Pressure
Finally, you need to also monitor your cholesterol as well as your blood pressure. On their own, high cholesterol as well as high blood pressure can cause eye health issues. Combined with diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure can aggregate and worsen eye health issues.
You should aim to keep your LDL cholesterol readings lower than 100 mg/dL. It is a good idea to keep it under 70 mg/dL when you have other health conditions at play as well.
High blood pressure is damaging to your eyes due to all the blood vessels that flow to the retina. You want your blood pressure to fall within the ideal range, which is from 120/80 to 90/60.
You can manage both your blood pressure and cholesterol via exercise and healthy eating, which are habits you should already be engaging in to control your diabetes.
To protect your eye health when you have diabetes, you need to make sure that you keep your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure readings low and that you ditch the tobacco.
Please contact us at Family Eye Care to set up your annual eye exam. We will work with you and your doctors to ensure your eye health is monitored and protected against diabetic eye conditions.