Diabetes & Eye Care: Keep Your Vision Sharp

We’ve had huge advancements in eye care.

Thanks to new diabetes medications and devices, it has become easier than ever to improve our diabetes control and reduce the chances of developing severe eye complications.

Additionally, new cutting edge eye tests and treatments have played a major role in the decrease of diabetes retinopathy.

So much so, that the American Diabetes Association has published its first position statement on the subject in 15 years. The position statement recognizes that “diabetic retinopathy diagnostic assessment and treatment options have improved dramatically”. It also emphasizes the importance of controlling glucose, blood pressure, and lipid levels to minimize the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and of reducing its progression.

It’s easy to keep an eye on your eyes. Here’s how to make eye care a part of your daily routine.

6 tips to help you keep your eyes healthy and avoid complications related to diabetes.  

1. Schedule regular checkups.

Make an appointment with your eye doctor at least once a year. It is much easier to find and treat problems early with regular monitoring. Regular tests like dilating the pupil will help your doctor view the blood vessels in your eye and check for damage. Also, talk to your doctor about eye care specific to your needs – contacts lenses, eye drops, glasses, etc.

2. Check blood sugars often.

Maintaining your blood glucoses will help prevent damage to the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. An A1c test can help you gauge what your average blood glucose is; aim for 7️⃣% or below.

3. Manage your blood pressure.

High blood pressure alone can cause eye problems. If you have high blood pressure ⬆️↗️ and diabetes, talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your blood pressure (medication, diet, exercise). Also be sure to have your blood pressure checked regularly. For most people, it should be 140/80 or lower.

4. Check your cholesterol levels.

Get your cholesterol checked regularly. High levels of “bad” LDL are linked to blood vessel damage. Boost “good” HDL cholesterol by eating heart healthy foods, cutting out trans fats and exercising regularly. Talk to your doctor about ways you can better control your cholesterol levels. ❤️

5. Get moving.

Exercise helps you control your blood glucose, shed pounds and manage your blood pressure. ‍Talk to your doctor about a workout plan that is best for you.

6. Taste the rainbow.

A healthy diet filled with colorful foods will help you maintain or lose weight, reduce blood pressure and provide your body with essential nutrients and vitamins. Try to incorporate dark leafy greens, organic eggs (especially the yolks), fatty fish like salmon, fruits high in vitamin C and almonds into your diet. Avoid excessive carbs, this can result in high insulin levels and can disturb eyeball growth.

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Jennifer

T1D, Commercial Relationships Program Management Specialist, loves her dog Shoo Shoo.