If you have diabetes, you are at higher risk of developing certain eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. The good news is that you can preserve your vision and reduce your chances of eye disease. Follow these steps now to make sure you preserve your vision in the years to come.

1. Get a comprehensive dilated eye examination from your ophthalmologist at least once a year

older woman gets an eye exam

In its early stages, diabetic eye disease often has no symptoms. A dilated eye exam allows your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) to examine more thoroughly the retina and optic nerve for signs of damage before you notice any change to your vision. Regularly monitoring your eyes’ health allows your ophthalmologist to begin treatment as soon as possible if signs of disease do appear.

2. Control your blood sugar

blood glucose test

When your blood sugar is too high, it can affect the shape of your eye’s lens, causing blurry vision, which goes back to normal after your blood sugar stabilizes. High blood sugar can also damage the blood vessels in your eyes. Maintaining good control of your blood sugar helps prevent these problems.

3. Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Man performing blood pressure test on himself.

High blood pressure and high cholesterol can put you at greater risk for eye disease and vision loss. Keeping both under control will not only help your eyes but your overall health.

4. Quit smoking

Woman breaking unlit cigarette in half.

If you smoke, your risk for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetes-related eye diseases is higher. Giving up tobacco will help reduce that risk.

5. Exercise

Three adults performing side-stretching exercise together.

Exercise is good for your eyes. It’s also good for your diabetes. Regular exercise can help your eyes stay as healthy as possible while helping to control your diabetes.

If you have diabetes, you can preserve good vision. Make sure you actively manage your disease with your Eye M.D. so that you reduce your risk of eye disease.

Page updated: Oct. 29, 2014

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