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Eye Health and Diabetes: Diabetic Awareness Month

During Diabetic Awareness Month, the Nationwide Vision team is shedding light on how diabetes can seriously impact your eye health. Surprisingly, around 37 million Americans have diabetes, which could lead to various eye-related problems. This number makes up nearly 11% of the entire US population.

Keep reading to understand why taking care of your eyes when you have diabetes is so important. You'll also find out about steps you can take to maintain good eye health. At Nationwide Vision in Arizona, we're dedicated to helping you grasp the significance of Diabetic Awareness Month.

Your Eyes and Diabetes

The impact of diabetes on eye health is significant, often resulting in conditions like diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma. Worldwide, millions of people are affected by diabetes, a condition that extends beyond its various symptoms to also affect the eyes. High blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can harm the blood vessels in the retina, potentially causing severe damage. Ignoring treatment for vision issues stemming from diabetes can even lead to blindness.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy develops when the blood vessels in the retina become weakened and start leaking due to prolonged high levels of blood sugar. This condition is a significant contributor to adult blindness. It progresses through various stages, each impacting your vision differently. Detecting any problems in the early stages is crucial to prevent permanent vision loss.

Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR)

The initial phase of diabetic retinopathy is called Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR). In this stage, the blood vessels in the retina start to weaken, causing fluid or blood leakage. This weakening can lead to the swelling of the retina, which in turn results in distorted or blurred vision. You might also notice the appearance of yellow deposits referred to as "exudates" on your retina. The severity of NPDR can increase as the condition of your retinal blood vessels deteriorates.

Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR)

As diabetic retinopathy advances, it can inflict substantial harm to the blood vessels. This progression might give rise to the growth of fresh blood vessels on the surface of the retina, which could extend into the vitreous gel of the eye. Because these newly formed vessels are delicate, they can rupture and enter the eye, causing visual disturbances like floaters and blurry vision. Left untreated, this condition can lead to the detachment of the retina from the back of the eye, resulting in vision loss. Additionally, the new blood vessels can contribute to the formation of scar tissue.

Preventing Vision Loss

There are many things you can do to keep your eyes healthy and prevent vision loss:

Manage Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Having elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels increases your susceptibility to diabetic-related eye problems. It's crucial to actively monitor and control both your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. You can achieve this by engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, and adhering to any prescribed medications. These proactive measures are essential for protecting your eye health.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Both your dietary choices and your level of physical activity significantly influence not only the management of diabetes but also the overall well-being of your eyes. Prioritizing nutritious foods and maintaining a well-balanced diet is paramount for promoting excellent eye health. Regular physical activity, including sports and exercise, not only helps in diabetes management but also enhances circulation, which is particularly beneficial for your eye health. Avoiding smoking is a crucial step – it's detrimental to your overall health. Additionally, it's wise to limit alcohol intake to moderate levels.

Control Blood Sugar

Balancing your blood sugar levels not only contributes to your overall well-being but also serves as a preventive measure against diabetes-related eye problems. Adhering to the target range for blood sugar levels recommended by your healthcare provider can significantly reduce the risk of eye complications that are associated with diabetes.

Regular Eye Exams

Make it a point to schedule a comprehensive eye examination with your eye doctor annually. The knowledgeable team at Nationwide Vision possesses the expertise to identify diabetic-related eye issues. Through these exams, we can identify potential problems in their early stages, aiding in the prevention of vision loss in the long run.

We have locations all across Arizona. No matter where you are in the state, quality eye care and comprehensive eye exams are always close!Reach out now to schedule an appointment at Nationwide Vision so you can give your eyes the treatment they need!

Find a Location

Not only can you get sunglasses from Nationwide Vision, but you can also invest in prescription sunglasses from us. With prescription sunglass lenses, you can improve your vision, protect your eyes, and make a fashion statement simultaneously.

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Contact Nationwide Vision in Arizona Today

As we observe Diabetic Awareness Month in November, it's crucial to dedicate this time to protecting your eyes if you're living with diabetes. By diligently tracking your blood sugar levels, adopting a health-focused way of life, and maintaining regular appointments with an eye care specialist, you can minimize the risk of facing diabetes-related eye issues.

Our team at Nationwide Vision is here to help you with all the diabetic eye care you need. We have locations all across Arizona. No matter where you are in the state, quality eye care and comprehensive eye exams are never far away! Call or click today for more info about Diabetic Awareness Month and what you can do to keep your eyes healthy. Reach out to schedule an appointment at Nationwide Vision! 

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