Living With Diabetes and Mantaining Healthy Vision
Diabetes is now the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20-74 years, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Maintaining healthy blood vessels is essential for preserving healthy vision, especially those located in the retina in the back of the eye that are particularly susceptible to damage. BEING PROACTIVE The National Eye Institute states that more than 40 percent of people with diabetes have diabetic eye disease. The most common form is diabetic retinopathy, which usually affects both eyes. However, many patients with diabetic retinopathy may experience no symptoms at all until the condition progresses. There are two forms of diabetic retinopathy: nonproliferative retinopathy and proliferative retinopathy. As diabetic retinopathy progresses, patients may experience spots or floaters, red veils or streaks, blurred vision, a dark or empty spot in the center of their vision, and difficulty seeing well at night. Significant damage to the retina occurs long before patients develop any of these symptoms. Several factors influence if and when a patient develops diabetic retinopathy, including blood sugar control, blood pressure levels, how long the patient has had diabetes, poor nutritional habits, cigarette smoking, and inherited genes. Patients with diabetes or those at-risk should always engage in healthy nutrition, exercise, and consult with a physician as well as a diabetes educator. To preserve healthy vision, patients with diabetes should get an annual dilated eye exam from an eye doctor experienced with diabetes. They should also see a retina specialist if STR is detected during an eye exam. Finally, science-based nutritional supplements for the eye, like EyePromise, may support retinal health by helping to maintain healthy blood vessels in the eye. The adverse effects on eye health and vision caused by diabetes can be debilitating, but patients with diabetes can significantly reduce their risk of vision loss by proactively managing their health.