What people with diabetes need is eyecare – and that really means “I care”. You can do a lot when it comes to early detection of eye problems and getting the right treatment.
Diabetes is a condition that can harm the eyes. It can damage the small blood vessels in the retina. This is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes can also increase risk of glaucoma, cataracts and other eye problems.
Regular eye examination
You may not realize the damage to your eyes until the problem is very bad. Regular eye examination can catch the problem early and enable timely medication. Eye examinations should be undertaken at least once a year. Choose an eye doctor who also takes care of people with diabetes.
What the eye examination involves:
* Dilating the eyes to allow a good view of the entire retina. This can only be done by an eye doctor.
* Specific photographs of the back of the eye – which may sometimes be required.
Preventing eye problems
Diabetics can largely prevent eye problems if you follow these few simple steps.
Control blood sugar levels. High blood sugar increases the risk of eye problems.
Control blood pressure. Blood pressure less than 130/180 is a good goal for people with diabetes. Check your blood pressure often, usually at the same time of day. Make sure you take any prescribed drugs to control blood pressure.
Quit smoking Smoking is particularly dangerous if you have diabetes. Quit now. Get help quitting if you can’t do it on your own.
Check before exercising It’s best to find out if you should avoid some exercises that could strain blood vessels. These might include weight lifting and high impact sports.
Eye-care at home
* If you cannot read the labels on medicine bottles easily, use a felt-tip pen to label bottles.
* Use rubber bands/clips to tell medicines apart.
* Ask someone else to give you your medicines.
* Read labels with a magnifying glass.
* Use a pill box with compartments for days of the week and times of day.
* Get large-font printouts of instructions and diet plans for diabetic meals.
• You cannot see well in dim light
• You have blind spots
• You have double vision (see two things when there’s only one)
• Vision is hazy or blurry and you can’t focus
• You have frequent headaches
• You see spots floating in your eyes
• You cannot see things on the side of your field of vision
• You see shadows
Your eyes are precious and delicate. The right care at the right time is essential to avoid eye problems specially if you are diabetic.