Last Updated on October 22, 2020 by Matt Schmidt
Photo by David Travis on Unsplash
In light of November representing Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness month, revisiting the best practices of eye health as a diabetic is a proactive step in investing in your long-term wellness. Your vision can be directly affected by diabetes, so staying educated on the warning signs and different options for caring for your eyes can help you better plan for the future. Learn more below about diabetic eye considerations and the ways to promote healthy eye habits in the long run.
Here at Diabetes Life Solutions, we love to share this article highlighting some tips and recommendations to help out with your eyesight and overall health of your eyes. Here are some suggestions for a person with diabetes to consider for their eyesight.
Plan a yearly eye exam
One of the easiest ways to keep up with your eye health is making sure to get your eyesight checked yearly. Not only does this ensure that you have the correct and up to date prescription, but several other issues can be addressed at a yearly dilated eye exam. As there are no warning signs of diabetic eye disease, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends that Type 1 attend yearly exams within five years of diagnosis, Type 2 should attend yearly exams right after diagnosis, and pregnant women need an exam prior to pregnancy or within the first three months.
Stay aware of changes in vision
If you are experiencing blurred vision, dark spots, vision loss, spots, flashes, or any other sudden or sporadic changes, these could all be indicators of a bigger vision issue at hand. As a diabetic, you should be aware of the top vision concerns you may face. Here are a few conditions per the National Eye Institute:
- Diabetic Retinopathy-as a result of damaged blood vessels in the retina, this condition happens to diabetics and causes vision loss and blindness
Having diabetes also makes you more prone to other eye diseases such as:
- Cataracts-clouded area in the lens of your eye causing blurred vision and other sensitivities
- Open-angle glaucoma-loss of vision in your peripherals from damage to the optic nerve
Consider your lifestyle choices
Although diabetes is not a choice, there are many other factors you can control when it comes to your eye health. Remember that other outside factors, such as age, diet, and lifestyle habits all contribute to your overall vision. Take smoking for example—it has been linked to increasing the risk of several different vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration.
Focusing on wellness-boosting habits on top of cutting out negative ones can also help protect your eyes. As many of us rely on technology and digital devices in our day to day lives, it is critical to instill good habits on account of the harmful blue light that is emitted from screens. Because long-term exposure to blue light can harm the retina, clocking in less screen time or downloading apps that reduce blue light are everyday changes that can have a lasting positive impact.
Find the proper accommodation
There are several options for accommodating your eyesight needs and what kind of vision aide works best for you and your lifestyle. There are special considerations for wearing contact lenses as a diabetic due to a higher risk of corneal erosion as a result of high blood sugar. Additionally, blood sugar levels can result in dry eyes and diabetic retinopathy may make wearing contacts impossible. The same complications surround LASIK eye surgery, but are not completely ruled out for diabetics and can be further discussed with a doctor.
In the case that contacts or surgery are not possible given your situation, consult with your doctor about finding suitable prescription eyeglasses for your vision needs and other treatment options that may help alleviate any vision impairments.
Plan your financial situation
As a diabetic, you have several different health factors to consider when planning out your long-term expenses. Your eye history is also a piece of the puzzle. For example, if you have a history of diabetic retinopathy this could impact your life insurance rates. It is important to take a proactive step in discussing matters such as if you are eligible for a no medical exam life insurance policy. Similarly, locking down reliable vision insurance can offer protection and peace of mind in the case of any severe or sudden vision changes. Remember that although you may receive some types of insurance from your employer or through a family member, it is critical to re-evaluate your plans to ensure you are properly covered.
Your eye health is important and can greatly impact your day to day quality of life. As a result, investing in these practices and prioritizing in your eye health as a diabetic can help protect this valuable sense.