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Almost 10% of people in the United States suffer from diabetes. This means that 29 million people have glucose, or blood sugar, levels that are elevated. Over the years, this high level of glucose can damage your eyes. The most common eye problem linked to diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, which is a leading cause of blindness for adults in America. This means that the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye, your retina, becomes damaged; a healthy retina is vital for clear vision. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy are blurry vision, floating or dark spots, and a pain or pressure in your eyes. Diabetes is also linked to an elevated risk of cataracts and glaucoma. These are all serious eye diseases that can be prevented by good eye care. There are 3 main ways to avoid diabetes-related eye complications:
- Manage your blood sugar and high blood pressure. While diabetes is an elevated blood sugar level, you can slow the damage to your eye’s blood vessels by keeping your glucose levels under control. Make sure to get an A1c blood test multiple times a year. Also, high blood pressure is often linked to diabetes and can lead to eye disease. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure any time you are in their office.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you suffer from diabetes, make an effort to live a healthy lifestyle. For example, focus on eating healthy and exercising regularly, which can help influence your blood sugar. Also, if you smoke, quit because smoking can cause problems with your blood vessels, further increasing your risk for these eye complications.
- Don’t skip your yearly eye exam! In order to spot any problems early, make sure to get your eyes checked every year. It is important for your eye doctors to check the blood vessels in your eyes for early signs of damage and enable them to treat any complications. If you need to schedule your eye exam, contact us at Allied Eye at 423-855-8522.