Diabetes is a common health condition, affecting more than 34 million Americans, or about 10.5% of the population, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Having diabetes can raise your risk for a variety of health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and neuropathy. It can also increase your chances of developing problems with your eyes. In fact, diabetes is the top cause of vision loss in Americans ages 18-64, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Fortunately, if you have diabetes, you’re not destined to lose your sight, and you can take important steps to protect your eye health. Making smart choices can help prevent damage to your eyes, or if you’re already experiencing diabetes-related eye damage, help keep them from worsening.
At Advanced Laser & Eye Center of Arizona, home of MyEyesToday.com, our eye care specialists have extensive training in caring for the eyes of diabetes patients. Our providers are committed to educating patients and offering the care you need to protect your eyes and your vision.
It may surprise you to learn that diabetes can affect your eyes. After all, diabetes may seem more like a digestive or metabolic disease than an eye-threatening condition, because it affects how your body metabolizes energy from the foods you eat.
However, in addition to affecting blood sugar and insulin, diabetes can interfere with other body systems. For example, if your blood sugar is too high for extended periods, it can damage blood vessels throughout your body — including in your eyes.
Diabetes can also contribute to damage in nerves throughout your body — including the nerves in your eyes. The condition can also lead to swelling in your retina, which plays an important role in your vision.
People living with diabetes have an increased risk of various eye conditions, including:
Having diabetes doesn’t mean you’re destined to develop eye problems. In fact, by taking care of your health and your eyes, you can reduce your risk of diabetes-related eye disease. Here are a few of the steps you can take:
Why are regular eye exams so important? Two reasons: First, your eye care provider can catch eye problems early, when they’re easiest to treat. Second, your eye doctor can talk with you about the lifestyle choices you can make every day to protect your eye health.
Don’t postpone eye exams just because you have no symptoms of eye problems. Diabetes-related eye conditions often have no warning signs, so you don’t know you have them unless your eye care provider discovers them during an exam.
Protect your vision from diabetes. To schedule an eye exam with our skilled providers, call the Advanced Laser & Eye Center of Arizona office nearest you, or book an appointment online.