People with diabetes are in constant management mode. They must keep blood sugar at a consistent level in order to preserve the functional operations of various parts of the body. The eyes are a particular concern for diabetics, as the tiny blood vessels in ocular tissues and structures such as the retina can sustain damage if blood sugar soars. Over time, this damage in the retina leads to fluid and fat leakage and, ultimately, it could lead to vision loss. In order to lower the risk of diabetic retinopathy, patients are encouraged to maintain certain habits.
Three Habits for Healthy Eyes
- Create a partnership with your eye doctor. More than seeing an eye doctor for routine exams, it pays to create a solid partnership with a physician who knows your history and can develop a plan around your diabetic condition. Eye care that revolves around diabetes involves specific methods of examination, and may include treatments to reduce the risk of vision impairment. Partnering with your eye doctor also means alerting the health care team of any changes to your vision, or to your diabetic condition.
- Have your eyes dilated during exams. Not all eye exams require dilation, but this is a vital step for the diabetic. Dilation is necessary for the fullest extent of observation of the retina, and it is the retina that is the structure most affected by diabetes. The normal standard of care is to dilate the eyes during the yearly eye exam. For a diabetic, a dilated eye exam may need to be done more frequently.
- Watch your levels. This is kind of an obvious tip. Diabetics seem to be always watching their blood sugar. It is also important, though, to keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. Elevated cholesterol means that there is extra fat leakage occurring from damaged blood vessels in the eye. High blood pressure quite literally turns up the force of blood flow from those vessels.
Good habits go a long way in helping diabetics manage their overall health, and eye health in particular. To schedule your eye exam, contact one of our three conveniently located offices.