Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. For diabetics, it is the leading cause. Diabetic retinopathy is the result of microvascular retinal changes in the eye. New veins and capillaries begin to grow. However, these new growths aren’t healthy, and often bleed, which causes the customary vision-blurring and eye reddening. Here are the top 5 tips for preventing diabetic retinopathy.
1. Know the symptoms – Double vision, flashing lights, redness or blood in the eye, difficulty reading…all of these are symptoms of diabetic retinopathy. Be sure to schedule an optometrist appointment if you experience any of these. Early diagnosis is key to keeping your vision.
2. Regular eye exams – as soon as you are diagnosed with diabetes, be sure to make an appointment with your ophthalmologist. You may have been living with the disease for some time, raising your risk of diabetic retinopathy. After this, be sure to get regular eye exams. Your ophthalmologist will be able to catch any retinopathy before it becomes serious. We recommend annual exams for diabetics.
3. Maintain your blood sugar – if your blood glucose levels rapidly rise, it can actually change the shape of your eye’s lens. This can cause blurred vision.
4. Exercise – overall wellness is important not just for your eyes, but to keep your diabetes in check. It also helps to maintain your blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause a cloudy lens and blurred vision. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the right exercise regimen for your body.
5. Protect your eyes – eye protection is important for everyone, not just diabetics. Remember to wear protective sunglasses when at the beach, on the water, and especially on the ski slopes. White snow’s reflective quality can cause eye damage.