diabetic eye disease | Auburn, ME

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has named November Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Diabetes is a serious disease that puts patients at risk for a number of health problems. Patients with diabetes are more at risk for developing conditions like diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts.

Unfortunately, many diabetic patients are not taking the necessary steps to protect themselves against these blinding eye diseases. So here are five ways diabetic patients can protect their eyes:

1. Closely monitor your blood sugar

If your blood sugar gets high it can damage the blood vessels in the retina. According to the American Diabetes Association, patients with uncontrolled blood sugar levels are four times more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy. Keeping your blood sugar under control is one of the best ways to protect your eyes and your health.

2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Maintain a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and a well-balanced diet. Dark leafy greens and foods that are rich in Omega-3’s have been shown to be especially good for eye health. And eating plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can lower your risk for common eye diseases.

3. Wear sunglasses when you are outdoors

Regularly spending time outdoors without eye protection can increase your risk for cataracts. Make sure you wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection and a wide-brimmed hat every time you go outside.

4. Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol

High blood pressure and cholesterol put you at increased risk of damaging the blood vessels in your eyes. Keeping both under control will greatly improve your overall health and lower your risk for permanent vision loss.

5. Have regular dilated eye exams

Most diabetic eye diseases have no symptoms during the early stages which is why regular eye exams are important. A dilated eye exam allows your eye doctor to look at your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage. That way, if you do develop a diabetic eye disease you can begin treatment early and minimize any permanent vision loss.

For more information on managing your diabetes and avoiding diabetic eye diseases, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors here at Riverside Eye Center’s Auburn location today.