November is National Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month; as cataract and cornea specialists, we want to do our part and help others learn about how diabetes affects the eyes and how you can protect your vision.
Defining Diabetic Eye Disease
Rather than one condition, diabetic eye disease is a collection of conditions that someone may develop. These include cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, and diabetic macular edema.
- Cataracts are caused by a breakdown of proteins in the eye, which causes a cloudy lens and blurry vision.
- Glaucoma damages the optic nerve and causes vision loss and, without treatment, blindness.
- Diabetic retinopathy affects the blood vessels in the eye, leading to vision loss from retina damage.
- Diabetic macular edema is caused by fluid buildup in the blood vessels of the retina; it impairs vision and can lead to blindness.
3 Tips for Preventing Diabetic Eye Disease
While diabetes can be challenging to manage, you can take steps to protect your health and vision.
1. Schedule Annual Eye Exams
Annual eye exams are the best way to detect early warning signs of diabetic eye disease. The eye doctor will assess your lens and retina and measure intraocular pressure. If they notice any concerning symptoms, they can prescribe appropriate treatment and help delay or stop the onset of a condition.
2. Closely Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels
One of the best ways to protect the blood vessels in your eye is to maintain stable glucose levels. Always take insulin and other medication as prescribed, and monitor your diet according to your doctor’s recommendations.
3. Look After Your Cholesterol
High cholesterol levels and high blood pressure can increase the risk of blood vessel damage. Many patients with diabetes struggle with having lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and higher levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). Following a heart-healthy diet that promotes good cholesterol levels is an important part of protecting your eyes and the rest of your health.
Get Expert Eye Care From Dr. Brian J. Groat
Dr. Groat is a highly skilled, board-certified ophthalmologist in Wilmington, NC. He has performed thousands of intraocular surgeries and performed extensive duties as a Flight Surgeon in the Air Force before founding Cape Fear Cataract & Cornea.
Please contact us today to schedule an appointment. You can book online or call our office at 910-769-4590.