How to protect your eyes when you have diabetes

September 24, 2015 Providence Health Team

Diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2, can cause eye problems and even blindness. Fortunately, you can protect your eyes by managing your diabetes and getting eye exams. In fact, most people with diabetes experience nothing more than minor eye disorders throughout their lifetime.

Take care of your eyes

Visit your eye doctor regularly and get a dilated eye exam at least once a year. (In some cases, your eye exam may be covered by medical insurance.) During this painless exam, the doctor administers eye drops that expand your pupils, enabling her to examine the retina (the light-sensitive part in the back of the eye). The dilated eye exam can help your doctor detect and treat any problems before damage becomes irreversible. Don’t forget to share the results with your primary care physician.

You can also help decrease the risk of eye complications by staying on top of your blood sugar levels. Some studies have found that maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels may also help keep eyes healthy.

You should see an optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately if you:

  • Notice little black lines/spots that don’t go away
  • See red spots or red fog
  • Experience a sudden change in the clarity of your vision
  • Take longer than normal to adjust to darkness

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