Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your body doesn’t use insulin properly. Some people are able to control their blood sugar levels through diet and exercise while others need medication or insulin. It’s important to treat diabetes, as it can lead to long term damage in the body. And the eyes are no exception.
To much surprise, diabetes is the primary cause of blindness in adults ages 20 to 74. Vision problems occur because diabetes damages blood vessels all over the body. When sugar blocks the tiny blood vessels that go to your retina, they can leak fluid or bleed. New vessels will grow back, but they don’t work as well.
But just as you can take care of your body by watching your diet and exercising regularly, you can do the same for your eyes. Let’s learn more about the link between blood sugar levels and vision and how to keep your eyes healthy.
Diabetes and Blurred Vision
Having high blood sugar causes the lens of the eye to swell, which interferes with your ability to see clearly. To correct your vision, you’ll need to get your blood sugar levels back into the target range.
For most people, a healthy target range is 80 mg/dL to 130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after the start of a meal. If you’re not sure what your target level is, talk to your doctor.
When your blood sugar is back at its target range, your blurry vision should resolve itself. However, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to diabetic retinopathy, a condition caused by damage to the blood vessels.
How to Manage Blood Sugar Levels
When you have diabetes, it’s very important that you keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. This will avoid serious health problems, including heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease. Managing your blood sugar levels can even improve your energy and mood!
Here are some of the best ways to manage your glucose levels:
- Be more active. Regular exercise helps maintain blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor about a safe exercise program.
- Eat a healthy diet. Your plate should consist of fruits, vegetables, proteins and healthy fats and starches. Watch portion sizes and know how to count your carbs.
- Take your medications. If you’re on medication for diabetes, take them as directed.
- Check your blood sugar. Your doctor will let you know how often you should be checking your glucose levels.
Diabetics Should See Their Eye Doctor More Often
As a diabetic, make sure that you schedule an appointment with your eye doctor at least once a year. Many of the complications that occur from diabetes can’t be seen or felt until it’s too late. A dilated eye exam will allow your eye specialist to check for the early stages of diabetic retinopathy and ensure the blood vessels around your eyes are healthy.