Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the vessels in your retina over time. This eye condition is the leading cause of vision loss in people with diabetes, but there are some things you can do to prevent developing diabetic retinopathy or to slow down the progression after a diagnosis. Making these simple lifestyle changes can make all the difference in the world for preserving your vision.
Maintain Proper Blood Sugar Levels
When you are diagnosed with diabetes, one of the first things your doctor will do is put you on a plan to get your blood sugar levels as close to the ideal range as possible. Typically, this will involve taking medication while you work on improving other lifestyle factors.
Your doctor may also recommend performing an A1C test on a regular basis to make sure your blood sugar levels are staying within the normal range. You might also be asked to monitor your blood sugar at home. Staying on track with your blood tests helps you to make sure your diabetes is under control.
Manage Other Co-Existing Health Conditions
If you have diabetes along with high blood pressure or cholesterol, then you are at an even higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. While you are working on controlling your blood sugar levels, you might also need to take medication to manage these other health conditions.
The top retina specialists in NY are often willing to work with your other health care providers to develop a plan that improves your overall wellbeing and ability to preserve your vision.
Eat a Healthy Diet and Exercise
Eating right and exercising work wonders for helping your body to maintain proper blood sugar levels. You might choose to work with a dietician to create a healthy meal plan. If you’ve been sedentary, then you might take up a walking routine or start other types of workouts that help to manage your weight and encourage better blood circulation throughout your body.
Schedule Annual Dilated Eye Exams
After diabetes is first diagnosed, your eye doctor in Brooklyn, NY will recommend having a comprehensive dilated eye exam. During this exam, your eye doctor will check your retina for signs of bleeding and damage to your blood vessels. They will also take images during the exam that they can refer to over time. If you already show signs of diabetic retinopathy, then they may offer you treatments that halt or slow down the progression.
Micropulse laser treatment or intravitreal injections are a few potential treatments they may recommend. After the initial exam, you’ll need to have a new one performed every year. People who already have significant damage to their retina may need exams more often.
Living with diabetes brings your overall health into greater focus, and many of the lifestyle changes you need to make to manage your blood sugar also lead to better eye health. As you work on preventing or slowing down the progression of diabetic retinopathy, remember to lean on your eye doctor for support. Making sure to mention any changes that you notice with your vision allows them to take prompt action that can preserve your ability to see clearly for years into the future.