According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 37.3 million Americans have diabetes. This means about one 1 of every 10 people in the country are at a high risk of diabetic eye disease. In today’s post, your local eye care specialists at Six One Six Vision Center discuss how the progression of diabetic eye disease can be slowed down or prevented.
Diabetes and Vision Loss
Diabetic eye disease is a group of complications associated with diabetes, which includes cataracts and glaucoma as well as diabetic retinopathy (retinal damage), which happens when diabetes causes damage to the blood vessels of the retina. This results in swelling of the macula (the part of the retina that processes central vision), and resulting in macular degeneration or loss of central vision. Diabetes may also cause scarring and bleeding in the eye.
Preventing Vision Loss from Diabetes
If you or someone you know has diabetes or pre-diabetes, the following are some steps that can help slow down or prevent diabetic eye disease:
- Visit your eye doctor at least once a year. Whether or not you suspect diabetes as a cause of your vision problems, regular eye exams, at least once a year, will help identify the cause and determine a treatment plan. Diabetic eye diseases typically have few symptoms and aren’t noticeable until its later stages. Your eye doctor can perform an eye exam and identify subtle signs of potential eye problems — including diabetic eye disease.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Keeping an eye on what you eat and drink can help reduce the chances of an onset of diabetic eye disease. Have your blood sugar levels tested and adjust your sugar intake (and your diet in general) accordingly as prescribed by your physician.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise complements a healthy diet in helping prevent or slow down diabetic eye disease. Exercise requirements vary between people, and it doesn’t have to be a punishing routine at the gym — for some people, an hour of brisk walking would be enough. Talk to your physician about your exercise requirements.