We recently discussed the concern that eye doctors have about diabetic retinopathy due to the subtleness of this condition. Most people do not recognize that they have this eye disease until their sight has been affected. We’d like to prevent this as much as possible so, once again, we’re taking a look at this disease and how diabetics may take control of their eye health before problems occur.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
The disease of diabetes is one in which a person’s blood glucose levels are dysregulated. A person’s glucose, or blood sugar, may be consistently too high or it may rise and fall dramatically. In either scenario, the elevation of glucose, over time, damages veins in the body. The eyes hold some of the smallest blood vessels. Weakness in these vessels can result in blood and fluid leaking into the back of the eye. The accumulation of blood on and around the retina, diabetic retinopathy, compresses the optic nerve. Ongoing compression may cause blindness.
Because there is often no sign of this eye disease, people with diabetes should see their ophthalmologist at least once a year. A diabetic eye exam is more comprehensive and focused than the standard vision exam. During this screening, the ophthalmologist looks through dilated pupils into the back of the eye. This is a painless way to observe the retina and blood vessels. Depending on the findings of this observation and other routine tests, additional screenings may be needed. Information is used to determine how to address diabetic eye health. In nearly every case, lifestyle strategies can be useful. Examples include:
Regular Physical Activity
People often assume that the reason diabetics are encouraged to exercise is so they can manage their weight. This is only one aspect. When we exercise, especially when we engage in strength training, the muscles must convert glucose to energy. When glucose is converted, insulin usage improves. As a result, it is easier to keep blood sugar within a suitable range. All exercise is beneficial. When it comes to blood sugar regulation, though, studies suggest that short bursts of strenuous exercise or light strength training prolong the conversion effect.
Eating healthy, like exercise, is not only about weight management. Like exercise, a particular type of diet is also useful in managing how insulin is used by the body. Diabetics are encouraged to eat a balanced diet. However, what experts are particularly interested in is the consumption of an appropriate amount of fiber. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar in the blood so helps to maintain metabolic regulation.
At Central Florida Eye Institute, patients receive comprehensive care in a friendly environment. To schedule your visit at our Ocala office, call (352) 237-8400.