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Three Ways To Help Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy

If you have diabetes, you know the importance of checking your blood sugar levels, eating sensibly, and avoiding cigarettes. Since people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are prone to an eye disorder called diabetic retinopathy, you also need to look after your vision. Here are three ways diabetics can help to prevent this condition.

Understand Diabetic Retinopathy

Also known as diabetic eye disease, diabetic retinopathy affects two million people in Canada and is the leading cause of blindness for those under the age of 65. Diabetes can be detrimental to eye health as it can cause changes in the blood vessels that nourish the retina. Problems with the blood vessels causes a decrease in circulation depriving the retina of oxygen. Ultimately, this can result in vision problems including total loss of sight.

Know the Symptoms

One of the most important things you can do to help prevent diabetic retinopathy is to be aware of the symptoms. While these can vary from person to person, here are some of the more common symptoms associated with the eye disorder:

  • Your vision begins to blur
  • You see flashes of light in your field of vision
  • You have spots in your vision
  • You have trouble seeing in dim light

Other symptoms can include double vision, headaches or pain in the eyes, or a total loss of vision in one of both eyes. Having these symptoms does not mean you have diabetic retinopathy, but it does mean you should see your optometrist right away for a comprehensive eye exam.

Get Regular Eye Exams

If you have diabetes, it is imperative to get regular eye exams. Since diabetes can affect the retina, you will need to have your eyes dilated so that the eye doctor can exam the back of your eyes. Getting your eyes dilated is not painful, however it can be a bit of an inconvenience as your eyes will be sensitive to light afterward and you may not be able to drive yourself home.

If you have type 1 diabetes and are 15 years and older, you should be screened at least once a year after being diagnosed with diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes, you should get screened for the disorder right away. Women with diabetes who are thinking about becoming pregnant should get screened before conceiving, during the pregnancy and within a year after having the baby.

Do you have diabetes? If so, when is the last time you had your eyes examined? Contact offices like Dr Fernando Eye Care opticians for more information.