Taking care of your eyes when you have diabetes

One of the damaging effects of having diabetes is that it can negatively affect your eyesight.  Over an extended period, high blood sugar can damage tiny blood vessels found in your eyes, leading to a condition called diabetic retinopathy.  Diabetes also accelerates the onset of cataracts and glaucoma, and it has been linked to neuropathy in the eyes, which is damage to the nerves in your eyes due to a decreased blood supply.


Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the onset of eye problems related to diabetes.


Get an annual eye check-up.  As part of your exam, your doctor will dilate your pupils which will give him the ability to check blood vessels in the back of your eyes.


Keep your blood pressure under control.  Diabetes can produce high blood pressure, and high blood pressure can cause eye disease.  Regular check-ups will include checking your blood pressure, which should be no more than 140/80 if you have diabetes.


Control your blood sugar.  Doing so will slow down any possible damage to blood vessels.


Control your cholesterol levels.  Make sure you are tested for LDL and HDL levels on a regular basis.  Too much LDL is linked to blood vessel damage.


Modify your diet.  You’ve heard it over and over and over again…a diet packed with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein is best for you, especially as you age.  Be sure to check with your doctor who can best advise you how a diet like this will interact with insulin.


Exercise!Movement has a huge impact on blood sugar levels. If you’re taking insulin, check with your doctor to see what an optimal workout should be for you.


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