November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and that means it’s time to talk about how diabetes impacts eye health. With diabetes comes the increased risk of developing a few different eye diseases, which are often referred to under the umbrella term of diabetic eye disease. These conditions can cause severe vision issues and even blindness if left untreated. Let's take a closer look at what diabetic eye disease is, who is at risk, and what you can do to protect your vision.
What Is Diabetic Eye Disease?
Diabetic eye disease is an umbrella term for several different conditions that affect the eyes in people with diabetes. The most common types are diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. While these conditions all have unique symptoms, they share one thing in common: They can all lead to permanent vision loss or blindness if not treated promptly and correctly.
Who Is At Risk Of Developing Diabetic Eye Disease?
Anyone with diabetes type 1 or 2 is at risk of developing diabetic eye disease. However, certain factors may increase your risk even further. These include having high blood sugar levels for an extended period of time, being overweight or obese, smoking tobacco products, having high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, and having a family history of diabetes or any other related condition (such as glaucoma).
What Can Be Done To Protect Your Vision?
The best way to protect your vision from the effects of diabetic eye disease is to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range. In addition to taking any medications prescribed by your doctor, this means eating a nutrient-rich diet low in refined sugars and exercising regularly. If you smoke tobacco products, you should also consider quitting as soon as possible—smoking has been linked to an increased likelihood of developing cataracts and glaucoma among those with diabetes. Finally, make sure you schedule regular checkups with your optometrist so that any changes in your vision can be identified early on before permanent damage occurs.
Diabetic eye disease can cause irreversible damage if left untreated—which is why it's so important for those living with diabetes to understand their risks and take steps to protect their vision now rather than later. Eating healthy foods low in refined sugars; exercising regularly; quitting smoking (if applicable); and scheduling regular checkups with an optometrist are all great ways to reduce your chances of developing any serious problems down the road. Taking care of yourself now will help ensure that you stay healthy well into the future!