Healthy Living
May 12, 2018 By Elizabeth Garel
What’s your vision for your health?

May is Vision Health Month. If you live with diabetes, keeping your eyes healthy is vital. Why? Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Canada, but that’s not where the story ends. Here’s the scoop on what you should know and what you can do.

The diabetes connection: Diabetes can cause changes in the tiny blood vessels in the retina – the sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that receives images and sends them to the brain. Diabetes-related eye diseases, known as diabetic retinopathy, cause vision problems ranging from blurriness to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness in people under the age of 65.

Get checked: If you have type 1 diabetes, get your eyes checked by an optometrist five years after your diabetes diagnosis, then annually. If you have type 2 diabetes, get your eyes checked when you are first diagnosed with diabetes, then every year or two if there is no eye damage, or more often if retinopathy is present.

Take steps: Good blood glucose (sugar) control is your best prevention against the development and progression of retinopathy. Early detection and treatment are vital to preventing vision loss, so visit an experienced eye-care professional regularly. In most provinces, annual eye exams are free for people with diabetes. Check with your eye-care professional for more details.

Want to learn more about how to prevent this diabetes complication? Visit Eye Damage (Diabetic Retinopathy). And ensure your doctor knows about the chapter on eye care aka retinopathy in the new Diabetes Canada 2018 Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada, so you can get the best diabetes care possible.

Parts of this post were originally published in the article, “Protect Yourself” by Elizabeth Garel, which appeared in Diabetes Dialogue.

How do you take care of your eyes? Tell us now.

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