Being diagnosed with diabetes can be a life-changing experience. Decisions about what food you eat, when to eat it, and how much, begin to affect you in ways they didn't previously and you have to be aware of your blood sugar level and blood pressure at all times. You also have to be thoroughly educated about the signs and symptoms that may signal complications related to diabetes and how to minimize your risk for these complications. It is important to know, therefore, that improper handling of diabetes can lead to serious damage to your eyes, so well-planned maintenance of your condition is essential to continued eye health. Below are some recommendations to help avoid eye related problems that could result from your diabetes:
Keeping blood sugar levels down
Dr. Timothy Nichols of Clinic for Vision PC in Albertville, Alabama explains, “Extended periods of time with high blood sugar can significantly increase your chances of developing eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy. This is an eye condition in which blood vessels in the eye change in ways that do extensive damage to your eyes and may lead to blindness if not treated properly. If you use insulin to control your blood sugar, be cautious not to overcompensate and inject too much. This can lead to blood sugar dropping to dangerously low levels, which is also very unhealthy.”
Another great way to keep your blood sugar low is by adding regular exercise to your overall routine. Exercise can significantly lower blood sugar over both the short and long term by making your cells more receptive to insulin. Be sure not to do exercise that makes you strain, such as weightlifting, or high-impact exercise such as football, since these can cause the blood vessels in your eye to strain and be damaged.
Keeping blood pressure down
High blood pressure can also cause your eyes to become damaged. One very important step to make sure your blood pressure remains at a healthy level is to make sure that you always maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy diet and having a healthy exercise regimen can help drop excess weight.
Cutting your salt intake can also go a long way toward lowering your blood pressure
“And if you use tobacco products, stop,” Dr. Nichols states, “Smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raises your blood pressure, and the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls. This can cause your arteries to narrow significantly, increasing your blood pressure even more.”
Familiarity with symptoms
Being familiar with the symptoms of eye problems associated with diabetes, such as retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts can help you know when it's time to go to the doctor. If you find that you have blind spots or you see rainbow-like halos around images, these may be symptoms of eye problems. Pain around the eye and eyebrow region and headaches are also serious signs that something may be wrong with your eyes, and you should seek assistance from an eye care professional immediately.
Getting regular eye exams at Albertville, AL
It may be the most obvious on the list, but many times people don't come to see their optometrist until they feel or see something wrong with their eyes. This is a big mistake. Many serious eye problems come on slowly, and you may not notice any difference in your vision until it's too late to undo damage already done. The best way to keep your eyes healthy for the long run is to think about preventive care. People with diabetes are far more likely to develop glaucoma and cataracts than the general population, risk increases with age.
For more information, contact Dr. Nichols at www.clinicforvision.com/ or (256) 878-4201.