Thanks to Carl Durand, Karen Graham’s son, for reviewing these important tips. Dr. Durand also reviewed the eye section in Diabetes Essentials to ensure all information is up-to-date.
Here are five tips:
1. Every year have a dilated eye exam. This is very important for people with diabetes. A dilated exam makes your pupils go large so the optometrist can see to the back of your eyes. Often, you won't have any visual symptoms when diabetes begins to affect the back of your eye. 90% of vision loss from diabetes is preventable with routine eye exams and follow-up care.
In Canada, all provinces and territories cover the cost of a diabetic eye examination with an ophthalmologist (with a referral), but many also cover the cost of an annual diabetic eye exam with an optometrist. In the USA, Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers eye exams for diabetic retinopathy once a year if you have diabetes.
2. Keep your blood sugar and blood pressure in the best control that you can. This helps reduce damage at the back of your eye.
3. Consider quitting smoking. Dr. Durand says “I always like to remind my patients that quitting smoking, or at least cutting back, is beneficial for your eyes.”
4. See a doctor right away for sudden changes in vision. For example, if you have sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes, flashing lights, spots or floaters of any color, or double vision.
5. Protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses when outdoors and wear protective safety glasses whenever there is a risk of something flying in your eye, such as cutting the grass or grinding or sanding.
See more tips in Diabetes Essentials and Complete Diabetes Guide.