Diabetes can harm your eyes in a number of ways. It can damage the small blood vessels in your retina, the back part of your eye. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes also increases your risk for cataracts, glaucoma, and other eye problems.
You may not notice anything wrong with your eyes or vision until the condition is very bad. The doctors at North Suburban Eye Specialists can catch problems early as part you get regular eye exams.
If your doctor finds eye problems early, drugs and other treatments may help prevent your vision from getting worse over time.
The Importance of Regular Eye Exams
If you have diabetes, you should have an eye exam by an eye doctor every year. Choose an eye doctor who understands the dangers of diabetes for eye health.
Your eye exam may include:
- Dilating your eyes to allow a good view of the entire retina. Only an eye doctor can do this exam.
- Special photographs of the back of your eye
Depending on the health of your eyes, the team at NSES may schedule you for more than one eye care visit each year.
Preventing Eye Problems
Managing your diabetes well will help keep your eyes healthy. Most importantly:
1. Control your blood sugar levels. High blood sugars increase your risk of having eye problems.
2. Control your blood pressure. Blood pressure less than 130/80 is a good goal for people with diabetes.
- Have your blood pressure checked often and at least twice per year.
- If you take drugs to control your blood pressure, be sure to take them as prescribed.
3. Do not smoke. Smoking drastically increases your eye health risks associated with diabetes.
4. Ask your doctor about any rigorous activities (weightlifting, impact sports) that may raise your risk of eye damage.