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Protect Your Vision from Diabetes

If you have diabetes, regular eye exams are important to diagnose potential problems early. High blood glucose caused by diabetes increases the risk of eye problems. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness and impaired vision in adults ages 20 to 74.

There are a few simple steps that can help prevent vision loss:

  • Get a comprehensive eye examination once a year. In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy often has no symptoms. A dilated eye exam allows your eye doctor to examine the retina thoroughly for signs of damage (diabetic retinopathy). Annual eye exams permit early detection of diabetic eye disease and better treatment results. Women with diabetes who become pregnant may need additional eye exams, as pregnancy can sometimes worsen diabetic retinopathy.
  • Maintain the best possible control of blood glucose levels. Prolonged high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina. On the other hand, good control lessens the risk of diabetic retinopathy significantly.
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. High blood pressure and high cholesterol increase the risk of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy.
  • Quit smoking. Smokers are at an increased risk for diabetic eye disease.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise helps with diabetic and blood pressure control, which, in turn, help reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Besides diabetic retinopathy, individuals with diabetes are also more likely to develop cataracts and glaucoma than non-diabetics. Regular eye exams help protect your vision.