Eye Care 101: The Lowdown on Diabetes and Eye Health

Managing diabetes is no walk in the park, especially because it can affect other parts of the body, like the eyes. Over time, high blood sugar damages blood vessels in the eye, increasing the patient’s risk of serious eye issues. Unfortunately, diabetes-related eye conditions sometimes go unnoticed until they’ve turned into a major issue, so taking a few precautions now can prevent serious eye health problems down the road.

Monitor Blood Sugar A pair of sunglasses, a hat, and a glucose monitor

This is something diabetic patients should be doing anyway, but many aren’t aware that high blood sugar causes blood vessel damage in the eyes. High blood sugar levels can also cause blurred vision, cataracts, and glaucoma. Keeping blood sugar levels around 7 percent or less (and having an A1C blood test performed several times a year) can slow damage to the eyes.

Watch Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

Cholesterol and blood pressure play a role in eye health, especially for patients with diabetes. Too much LDL (“bad”) cholesterol causes blood vessel damage, and high blood pressure can cause an additional eye disease called hypertensive retinopathy. Patients notice few symptoms, and these issues are usually found during routine eye exams.

Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

Improving their overall health reduces a diabetic patient’s chance of developing eye problems. Yes, that means ditching the fast food, dropping bad habits, and exercising regularly! Patients should opt for natural foods like fruits, veggies, and lean protein. Quitting smoking relieves some blood vessel issues that can improve eye health. Exercise is another key to a healthier life, but some exercises strain the blood vessels in the eye, so the patient’s doctor can recommend specific exercises for them. Their doctor can also provide medical advice on making diet changes and quitting smoking, too.

Regular Eye Exams

Patients with diabetes typically have eye exams yearly, but their doctor may recommend having them more or less frequently. When caught early, many eye health issues can be treated easily, so if you experience any symptoms such as blurry vision, black spots, loss of sight, or anything else unusual, contact the physicians at St. Charles Vision or call 504-866-6311 to book an eye care appointment at a location near you.