Diabetic eye disease awareness
People with diabetes are more likely to develop blinding eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. Yet recent studies have revealed low awareness of the issue among individuals at higher risk for diabetes. With the findings signaling that many Americans may not be defending themselves against diabetes-related vision loss, in observance of Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month in November, UCLA Stein Eye and Doheny Eye Institutes join the American Academy of Ophthalmology to encourage those with diabetes to take proactive steps to protect their vision.
Top Five Steps to Help Prevent Diabetic Eye Diseases
If you have diabetes, you are at higher risk of developing certain eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. The good news is that you can preserve your vision and reduce your chances of eye disease. Follow these steps now to make sure you preserve your vision in the years to come.
- Get a comprehensive dilated eye examination from your ophthalmologist at least once a year
In its early stages, diabetic eye disease often has no symptoms. A dilated eye exam allows your ophthalmologist to examine more thoroughly the retina and optic nerve for signs of damage before you notice any change to your vision. Regularly monitoring your eyes’ health allows your ophthalmologist to begin treatment as soon as possible if signs of disease do appear.
- Control your blood sugar
When your blood sugar is too high, it can affect the shape of your eye’s lens, causing blurry vision, which goes back to normal after your blood sugar stabilizes. High blood sugar can also damage the blood vessels in your eyes. Maintaining good control of your blood sugar helps prevent these problems.
- Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can put you at greater risk for eye disease and vision loss. Keeping both under control will not only help your eyes but your overall health.
- Quit smoking
If you smoke, your risk for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetes-related eye diseases is higher. Giving up tobacco will help reduce that risk.
Exercise is good for your eyes. It’s also good for your diabetes. Regular exercise can help your eyes stay as healthy as possible while helping to control your diabetes.
If you have diabetes, you can preserve good vision. Make sure you actively manage your disease with an ophthalmologist so that you reduce your risk of eye disease. To find an ophthalmologist near you, visit uclahealth.org/eye.