Nearly a third of Americans have diabetes or prediabetes, and that means every one of those individuals is also at greater risk for developing certain types of vision problems and eye diseases. If you have diabetes or even if you’re at risk for the disease, it’s important to do all you can to keep your eyes healthy.
At Advanced Lasik, Dr. Randa Garrana offers comprehensive diabetic eye care for people of all ages who have diabetes or prediabetes, using advanced diagnostics to spot subtle changes that could indicate a vision problem is underway. With locations in New York City and Long Beach and Pasadena, California, Advanced Lasik is recognized as a leading provider of eye care for patients of all ages.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 90% of diabetes-related vision loss is preventable — as long as you know what steps to take to protect your eyes and your vision.
Here are six important steps you can take to help keep your eyes healthy.
#1. Wear sunglasses
Your skin isn’t the only organ that can be damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Your eyes can be damaged, too, especially your retinas and the clear corneas at the front of your eyes. Plus, excessive sunlight also increases your risk of developing cataracts, one of the four “types” of diabetic eye disease (along with glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and diabetic macular edema).
Wearing sunglasses with UV protection filters out the damaging rays that can damage the clear lenses of your eyes. It also helps protect your retinas to help them stay healthy, potentially reducing the risk of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema.
#2. Do all you can to manage your glucose
If you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar under control is essential for staying healthy — and it’s also really important for your eyes and your vision. High blood sugar can cause damage to your nerves, including the ocular nerve that enables you to see.
Elevated glucose levels can also cause swelling in the clear lens of your eyes, making it harder to see clearly. Keeping your blood sugar within a healthy target range can significantly reduce these risks.
#3. Manage cholesterol, too
You probably know high cholesterol levels are a major cause of cardiovascular disease. But elevated cholesterol can also increase your risk for eye diseases. If you have diabetes, high cholesterol increases your risk for diabetic retinopathy, a major cause of blindness among people with diabetes.
#4. Stop smoking
Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs. Smoking interferes with circulation, and that’s bad for your eyes, too.
In fact, people who smoke are at an increased risk for several types of eye problems, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it’s one of the most important steps you can take to protect your eyes and your overall health, too.
#5. Watch your diet
Your eyes need balanced nutrients to stay healthy, and some foods provide more of those necessary nutrients than others. To give your eyes the vitamins and minerals they need, be sure to eat plenty of leafy greens, like spinach and kale. Carrots contain high levels of beta carotene, an important nutrient for eye health. Fish, like salmon, tuna, and halibut, provide omega-3 fatty acids, also shown to be important for eye health.
#6. Get an annual eye exam
Annual eye exams are critical if you have diabetes — even if you don’t have any symptoms of vision loss. During an annual comprehensive eye exam, Dr. Garrana performs a series of tests and examinations to look for very subtle signs of eye disease, including tiny changes inside your eyes. By identifying diabetic eye disease in its earliest stages, you can get important care to help prevent permanent vision loss and blindness.
Reduce your risks of diabetic eye disease
If you have diabetes, Dr. Garrana can help you take important steps to keep your eyes healthy, so you can continue to enjoy great vision. To learn more about preventing diabetic eye disease, call the office, or use our online form to request an appointment today.