Diabetes is a long-running battle involving high risk to multiple body organs. One of the most sensitive organs—our eyes—is also one of the most affected body parts by diabetes. In its first National Diabetes Survey, the Union Health Ministry reveals that the prevalence of Diabetic Retinopathy (a critical vision problem) is 16.9%, and that of sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy is 3.6% in India.
This prevention of blindness week, let’s throw some light on the eyesight risks from diabetes and how to protect your power of sight for years to come.
Types of Eye Diseases Caused by Diabetes
Dubbed the ‘silent killer,’ uncontrolled diabetes is an invitation to a slew of diseases, including vision loss. Thus, it is crucial to pay attention to the early signs of eye complications caused by diabetes. Below are some of the critical eye problems that may arise due to high blood sugar levels-
1) Blurry Vision and Watery Eyes: One of the earliest evident signs of diabetic eye disease includes headache, eye aches, blurred vision, watery eyes, flashes of light, etc. If you often notice any of these symptoms, controlling your blood sugar levels should be your first point of action, followed by a doctor’s consultation.
2) Cataracts: A recent WHO report reveals that in the South Asian region, including India, 51% of blindness is due to cataracts. Although cataract is a common eye problem among middle-aged people, diabetics are more prone to developing cataracts earlier. Worse, the condition of cataracts aggravates faster in people with diabetes.
3) Diabetic Retinopathy: As the name suggests, diabetic retinopathy affects the eye’s retina- the part that takes in light and forms images. The condition causes floating spots or flashes in your vision and even light vision loss due to damaged blood vessels in the retina.
4) Diabetes Macular Edema: Macula is a part of the retina that helps you read, drive, and see faces. Diabetes macular edema is an extension of the cataract condition, destroying your sharp vision and leading to partial vision loss.
The longer you host diabetes in your body, the more vulnerable you become to the above-mentioned eye diseases and vision loss issues- read more about them.
5 Tips to Prevent Vision Loss From Diabetes
When it comes to preventing blindness from diabetes, every step matters. People with diabetes should take good care of their everyday routine, from diet to check-ups, and treatments. That’s why we bring you some easy-to-follow prevention measures to combat diabetes while protecting your vision for the best time ahead-
A bit of universal advice for diabetics is to always keep a tab on their blood glucose. This involves measuring your blood sugar with a glucose meter at home or a clinic. Whether you are diabetic or prediabetic, you should check your blood glucose at least twice every month.
Undergoing a comprehensive eye examination is necessary to ensure healthy eyesight post diabetes. The dilated eye exam is one such eye care test to monitor your eye’s retina and identify vision loss problems, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, etc. If you are 60 years and above, you should undergo a comprehensive dilated examination once every year.
Surprisingly, a majority of diabetics are unaware of diabetes ABCs. It covers the four most significant factors affecting your diabetes status.
Under diabetes ABCs, A stands for A1C test that examines the average blood sugar level over the past 3 months. Depending on the type of diabetes, one should undergo an A1C test while maintaining ideal A1C levels as suggested by the doctor.
Whereas, B and C stands for blood pressure and cholesterol, respectively. As a thumb rule for diabetics, controlling your blood pressure and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels should be your top priority. If you are still struggling to combat your hypertension, here’s an easy-to-follow diet plan to keep your blood pressure on the track.
Lastly, S under ABCs stands for smoking—one of the most challenging conditions to deal with being a diabetic. Yet, the earlier diabetics quit smoking, the better.
Every minuscule habit matters when it comes to eye care post diabetes. What starts as an inactive workday soon turns into a sedentary lifestyle, leading to vision loss issues.
The only way to beat the activity block is by moving your body physically, as often as you can. Exercising regularly, taking long walks in nature, eating well-before bedtime, and maintaining an 8-hour sleep cycle are sure-fire rules to keep the risk of blindness at bay.
You are what you eat. As a diabetic, you must follow a strict diet plan combining carbs, fiber, vitamins, and proteins. To add an extra layer of protection for your vision, add lentils, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, and foods rich in vitamin C and E to your platter. If you are looking for an extensive diabetes diet plan, including Indian food, here you go.
Fighting diabetes is an uphill battle. Yet, you can get the upper hand over this prolonged condition by nipping it in the bud. Early-stage diabetes is easy to combat while serving as an alarm to protect your vision without further delays.
Choose Care Health Insurance as your diabetes partner. We help you lower your diabetes treatment burden with our comprehensive pre-exisiting disease cover- Care Freedom. The policy benefits, inlcuding minimum waiting time and exclusive coverage helps you get hold of your blood sugar levels for years to come.
Disclaimer: Please refer to the policy documents and brochure to know more about health insurance plans as conditions may vary.
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