Keeping your eyes open on optical health

Thursday, 12 October 2017

On average, one in three people living with diabetes will develop some form of diabetic vision loss over their lifetime. It’s important to look after your eyes, and there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risks.

1. Regular eye checks

Get your eyes checked when you’re diagnosed and then at least every two years after by an optometrist or an opthalmologist. This way any early signs of damage can be picked up and treated immediately, which can delay or even prevent vision loss.

2. Manage your blood glucose levels over time

Everyone has periods where their blood glucose levels are out of whack, but if you’re struggling to keep your levels in target range long-term it’s important to speak to your diabetes healthcare team about management strategies. High blood glucose levels can cause a short-term blurring of vision or lead to longer-term problems like diabetic retinopathy which occurs when high blood glucose levels damage the small blood vessels in the retina of the eye.

3. Have healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Many eye diseases, particularly those associated with diabetes, are linked to other health conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Having healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels can help reduce your risk of developing diabetes-related eye disease.

4 . Follow a healthy lifestyle

While we don’t immediately link regular exercise and a healthy diet to our eye health, they can help manage blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. Aim to exercise for half an hour every day and follow a well-rounded diet. You can find more information on what constitutes as a healthy diet or by speaking to your Accredited Practising Dietitian.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, or any changes in your vision, contact your doctor or optometrist. Symptoms include:

  • Blurred, distorted or patchy vision that can’t be fixed with prescription glasses.
  • Problems with balance, reading, watching TV and recognising people.
  • Being overly sensitive to glare.
  • Difficulty seeing at night.

For more information, download the NDSS Fact Sheet Looking after your eyes.

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