If you’ve got diabetes, there are many things to be concerned about, but you might not consider your eyes.
But that could be a mistake. An annual eye exam may save your sight.
Diabetes can alter the health of blood vessels in the retina. However, they cause no symptoms in the early stages. But if left undetected, damage can occur and lead to vision loss.
The condition, marked by an inability to properly absorb or produce insulin, can cause blood vessels in the eyes to leak and cause swelling in the macula. The macula is the part of the retina responsible for central vision.
Severe vision loss is also a possibility for diabetics. If allowed to progress, blood vessels at the back of the eye may begin to bleed or lead to retinal detachment. This can lead to progressive vision loss and blindness over time.
More than half of people with diabetes will develop diabetic retinopathy, which is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. However, less than half of diabetes patients undergo an annual eye exam.
If there is evidence of trouble resulting from diabetes, eye doctors can identify it and recommend one of several safe treatments. Like with so many other health conditions, the key is to catch it before it is too late.
Managing diabetes, or preventing blood sugar from getting too high, is the best way to preserve vision and reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy. Some of the things you should do to manage diabetes include:
Keep blood sugar levels under control. For people with diabetes, the target is below 6.5 percent.
Monitor blood pressure and work to keep it under control. Food choices, exercise, and good sleep can help manage blood pressure.
Watch blood cholesterol which should be less than 200 mg/dL.