Many people see the doctor every year for a physical. Most of us also schedule regular visits to the dentist to get our teeth cleaned. But what about your eyes? It’s important to take care of your eyes—just like you take care of the rest of our body!
That’s why we’re joining forces with the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, to celebrate Healthy Vision Month in May. This year, NEI is encouraging adults ages 25 to 35 to make vision a priority for years to come.
How does diabetes affect eye health?
Of course, we’re especially interested in helping people with diabetes learn how to protect their vision. Diabetes puts you at risk for diabetic eye disease, which includes diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy, the most common kind of diabetic eye disease, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in adults ages 20 to 74.
Your risk for diabetic eye disease increases the longer you have diabetes. The good news is that getting regular eye exams and other healthy habits can help protect your vision.
What can you do to prevent diabetic eye disease?
Here are some simple steps that can help people with diabetes keep their eyes healthy.
- Schedule that annual eye exam. It’s very important to find and treat diabetic eye disease early—before it causes vision loss. So make sure you get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.
- Eat eye-healthy foods. Choose foods that are high in fiber and low on the glycemic index. This will help keep your blood glucose steady, make you feel full, and keep your eyes healthy.
- Get plenty of physical activity. Regular physical activity has lots of benefits—it can help control your blood glucose, boost your energy, and keep your heart healthy. Over time, it can also lower your A1C levels. If you’ve never been active before or it’s been a while, start slowly—try light activities like walking. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a new physical activity routine.
- Quit smoking. If you smoke, make a plan to quit. Smoking lowers the amount of oxygen that gets to your organs, raises your bad cholesterol, and raises your blood pressure—all factors that can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Smoking can also make it more likely that you’ll develop eye problems that can lead to vision loss. If you need help quitting, talk with your doctor.
So, what’s your vision of the future?
Help us spread the word by telling us your vision of the future! Use #MyVisionMyFuture and the language below on social media throughout the month of May to share the steps you’re taking now to protect your vision in the future.
“I ___ now so I can see ___ in the future.” #MyVisionMyFuture
Whether you’re looking forward to taking in the view from your corner office or setting your sights on the Eiffel Tower—you can take simple steps now to make sure your eyes are ready for the future. To learn more about Healthy Vision Month and how to take care of your eyes, check out the NEI Healthy Vision Month website.