Have Diabetes? Follow These 5 Steps to Help Prevent Vision Problems

Diabetes is a group of conditions — including Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes — in which your body either does not make enough insulin or does not use insulin the right way. Diabetes is a common condition that affects as many as 422 million individuals across the globe, according to the World Health Organization. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to complications that affect many parts of your body including your nerves, kidneys, and even your vision. 

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, and if left untreated, it can affect your sight. That’s why it’s important for our patients with diabetes to work closely with Dr. Dwight Thibodeaux and Dr. Paul Tachau and our skilled staff at Accent Vision Specialists. If you have diabetes, we can provide you with the specialized diabetic eye care you need to protect your vision. 

In addition to receiving regular eye exams, you can follow these five steps to help prevent vision problems. 

1. Monitor your diet

Diabetic retinopathy can affect your vision if too much sugar damages the blood vessels in your eyes. To reduce the risk of sugar damaging your blood vessels, it’s important to monitor your diet. Regardless of what type of diabetes you have, it’s important to follow a healthy, well-balanced diet. According to the American Diabetes Association, you can promote healthy blood sugar levels by:

Eating healthy not only helps lower your blood sugar, but it also helps reduce your risk of other diabetic complications like high blood pressure.

2. Exercise regularly

Studies show that exercise not only helps prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes, but if you already have diabetes, exercise can help improve blood sugar control. Specifically, exercise can increase your insulin sensitivity.

Both aerobic and strength training exercises benefit you if you have diabetes. Regular exercise also helps you maintain your weight and improve your heart health. To protect your vision from diabetic complications and improve your overall health, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week (150 minutes total) as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

3. Control your blood pressure

A 2015 study published in Hypertension Research revealed that high blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a risk factor for diabetes. Controlling your blood pressure can be another way to protect your vision by reducing your risk of developing diabetes.

Manage your blood pressure by:

If you already have high blood pressure and diabetes, continue to work with your primary care physician to safely lower your blood pressure. 

4. Increase your fiber intake

Fiber is known for supporting your digestive system, but eating more fiber can also help manage diabetes and reduce your risk of vision problems. Studies show that a particular type of fiber — soluble fiber — helps lower blood sugar levels by slowing down how fast sugar is absorbed.

To add more fiber to your diet, include whole grains (like barley and oatmeal), beans, and vegetables to your meals.

5. Schedule regular eye exams

One of the best ways to prevent vision problems is to schedule regular eye exams. Because the earliest stages are easier to treat than advanced diabetic retinopathy, an eye exam allows one of our skilled optometrists the opportunity to spot the warning signs and develop a treatment plan. 

At Accent Vision Specialists, we’re happy to provide diabetic eye care. If you’re been diagnosed with diabetes or have concerns about your vision, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at our office in Sante Fe, New Mexico, by calling 505-984-8989.

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