It’s important for everyone to keep their eyes healthy and strong, but eye health should be even more of a focus for those living with diabetes because diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults. While this may sound troublesome, understanding the risks and taking precautionary measures can help your eye health stay on track.
Here are some simple steps people living with diabetes should keep in mind when it comes to diabetes and eye health.
Schedule regular eye exams. The best way to monitor your eye health is to schedule regular exams. People living with diabetes over the age of 30 should have a dilated eye exam every year. If you already have eye disease, regular check-ins should be scheduled more often because people with diabetes are at an increased risk for eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts and blindness.
Treat dry eyes. Dry eyes can be a long-term problem and if left untreated, can damage your eyes. If you have dry eyes, it’s important to consult a health care professional right away to find out what is causing your symptoms. There are many treatment options and medications available depending on the cause of your dry eyes. Through the CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetes® program, people living with diabetes and their caregivers can save on these medications in addition to more than 100 products used to manage this chronic condition. Sign up at CVS.com/diabetes to start saving today.
Pay close attention to blurred vision. If you’re experiencing blurred vision, this could be a symptom of type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar (glucose) levels can make your vision temporarily blurry and over time, high blood sugar may lead to other problems. Manage your blood sugar levels to help avoid eye complications such as diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to vision loss.
Understand the risks of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the eye’s retina leak, swell or even close off completely. The longer you have had diabetes, the more likely you are to develop this condition. In fact, nearly everyone with type 1 diabetes will eventually have early symptoms of this condition, known as nonproliferative retinopathy, and most people living with type 2 diabetes will also develop this condition. However, the retinopathy that destroys vision, known as proliferative retinopathy, is less common. Keep your blood sugar levels closer to normal to reduce the likelihood of retinopathy.
Papatya Tankut is vice president of pharmacy affairs at CVS/pharmacy