For a person with Diabetes, the optometrist is equally important to the other doctors in your life. One of the hazards of the disease is a condition known as Diabetic Retinopathy, which causes more cases of blindness in the United States each year than any other vision issue. Without the proper attention and commitment to prevention, it can quietly steal your sight.

Monitor Blood Sugar
Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when high blood glucose, common in diabetics, weakens the blood vessels of the eye. Sooner or later, the vessels weaken to the point that they leak into the retina, obscuring vision. Scar tissue can also result from the bleeding, degrading the situation further.  Keeping blood sugar under control reduces the stress on your eye’s blood vessels.

Keep Blood Pressure Contained
Like high blood sugar, high blood pressure has a detrimental effect on your vision, and is frequently experienced in tandem with a glucose problem. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can make the weakened and vulnerable eye vessels burst. Hypertension damages many parts of the body, but is especially dangerous to your vision when accompanying diabetes.

Alcohol and Smoking
Consumption of alcohol has a dramatic effect on blood glucose, plus can cause weight gain and additional diabetic issues. This raises the chance of diabetic retinopathy substantially. To reduce the chance of diabetic retinopathy, exercise, eat quality foods, avoid alcohol and tobacco. If you are overweight, consult your doctor for nutrition advice, as your diabetes may be much improved with diet and weight control.

Regular Optometrist Visits
If you are a patient with diabetes, you most NOT miss your regular appointments with the optometrist. Diabetic Retinopathy is so gradual that you may not realize you are losing your sight until significant loss has occurred. During your routine exam, your optometrist can detect minuscule changes before you have obvious symptoms and help you prevent advancement of the disease. The eye doctor will apply drops to your eyes to dilate them at least once yearly. This is painless and helps the doctor visualize any changes in eye health.

Diabetic patients are at risk for extremely dangerous conditions that can rob you of your quality of life in many ways. Your vision is precious and once lost can never be replaced. Be sure to schedule and keep regular eye exams, and contact your eye doctor any time you notice a change in your vision.