May is Healthy Vision Month, and we want to hear from you!
Take the “Next Step” on your eye health journey with the #EyeChallenge:
- Take the Diabetes Risk Test
- Make an appointment with your eye care provider. Here’s how to prep for your appointment.
- Get treatment if needed
- Share your experience with friends and family and encourage them to take the next step in their eye health journey. We also want to hear from you. Share your story with us.
If you have diabetes or are at risk for diabetes, talk to your health care team to assess the status of your eye health and determine your next steps. The simplest way to prevent or delay eye disease and vision loss caused by diabetes is to schedule a comprehensive dilated annual eye exam. There you’ll find out if you have any signs of early eye disease and can speak with an eye doctor about treatment options and steps you can take to maintain good eye health.
In addition to scheduling an appointment with your eye care provider, here are some other steps you can take to protect your eyes from damage!
Maintain glucose within target range: High blood sugar (blood glucose) levels can damage the eyes over time, leading to diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma, cataracts, and other vision problems. Symptoms, such as blurry vision when blood sugar levels are high, can be temporary. When your levels lower to your target range, your vision returns to normal.
Blood pressure: Keeping blood pressure within your target range helps lower your risk of developing eye disease.
Blood lipids: Elevated cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in your blood vessels. If plaque breaks off and enters the eye, it could result in a blockage and ischemia (lack of oxygen) to your eye. This can result in the release of specific growth factors, called vascular endothelial growth factor, that can lead to macular edema, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. Lipids can also accumulate within the vessels of the eye, leading to partial narrowing of the blood vessels.
Quitting smoking: Studies have shown a relationship between smoking and the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and dry eye syndrome.
Having a healthy eating plan: Having a healthy eating plan will help you reach your blood sugar targets and ensure that you’re getting the healthy foods you need. Find out from your health care team what foods can help keep your eyes healthy.
Be active: Exercise improves blood flow, including the flow to your optic nerve and retina. Studies have demonstrated that regular exercise can reduce your risk of glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. In addition, being active can reduce blood pressure and help you reach your blood sugar targets.
Diabetic eye disease can occur even when you take steps to avoid it, but you can reduce your risk of developing it and minimize its impact if you take the simple steps above. Be sure to make an appointment to see an eye doctor so that any problems leading to vision loss can be detected and treated early.