Diabetes is a rapidly growing global health issue, and over 9% of Americans have diabetes while about 1.5 million more are diagnosed every year. As you may already be familiar with some of the heightened health risks associated with diabetes, such as cardiovascular disease and neuropathy, it is extremely important for diabetic individuals to heed the advice of eye care professionals concerning healthy vision.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Although there is a substantially higher risk for people with diabetes to develop certain eye diseases, such as diabetic macular edema, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy, those risks can be greatly reduced through diligent health management.
If you have diabetes, high glucose levels in the blood can damage the blood vessels in your eyes and may lead to serious vision threatening issues. By properly managing your diabetes and following the instructions below, you could preserve your eye health and visual acuity by potentially preventing the onset of diabetic eye disease.
- Manage blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol (as instructed by your doctor)
- Do not smoke
- Exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy diet
- Visit your eye doctor every year, for a dilated eye exam
Early eye damage caused by the development of diabetic eye disease often comes with no symptoms or warning signs. When you diligently keep up with yearly dilated eye examinations, your eye doctor is given the opportunity to catch and treat serious eye diseases early. The sooner your eyes receive the treatment that they need, the better your chances are of maintaining your precious vision.
The best time to begin managing your diabetes and developing good health habits is now. It takes practice, proper resources and self-discipline, however your health and vision are irrefutably priceless! If you ever notice sudden changes in your vision, many floaters (more than usual) or flashes of light, do not hesitate to call your eye doctor immediately.
National Diabetes Month
As a valuable reminder for everyone to keep up with regular diabetes screenings, treatments and research, November was named ‘National Diabetes Month’ in 1975. In addition, November is also recognized by the eye care community as ‘Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month.’