High Blood Sugar Can Rob You of Your Eyesight, Here's How to Protect It
High Blood Sugar Can Rob You of Your Eyesight, Here's How to Protect It

Diabetes is a disease that is heavily influenced by poor diet, a deteriorating lifestyle, and stress. In this condition, the pancreas either produces insufficient insulin or stops producing it altogether, leading to an increase in the level of sugar in the blood. If high blood sugar is not controlled for a long time, its effects can be seen from the heart to the kidneys, lungs, and eyes. You are aware that high sugar levels can also rob your eyes of their vision. According to recent reports, reduced vision in the eyes due to diabetes is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina due to diabetes. In this condition, fluid and blood can leak from the retinal blood vessels. In the early stages of this condition, there are usually no symptoms. Some people may experience changes in vision, such as difficulty reading or seeing distant objects, which can be indicative of the condition.

After some time, the symptoms of this disease begin to worsen. A gel-like liquid substance may be released in the retina, which fills the eyes, leading to the appearance of floating spots or cobweb-like strings. Sometimes these spots may resolve on their own, but it is important to seek immediate treatment for this condition. Without treatment, marks may form in the back of the eye. Blood vessels may start to bleed again, or the bleeding may worsen. Diabetic retinopathy primarily affects both eyes. It can be the cause of glaucoma or blindness. This disease has three stages, each requiring different treatments. Let's find out who is at risk of diabetic retinopathy and how to prevent this condition.

Who is at risk of diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a serious complication of diabetes that can affect anyone who has the disease, regardless of the type. Those with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy over time. Additionally, women who have experienced gestational diabetes during pregnancy may be more vulnerable to this condition. The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases with the duration of diabetes, making long-term diabetic patients particularly susceptible. Individuals who struggle to maintain stable blood sugar levels, as well as those with poorly managed diabetes, are more prone to diabetic retinopathy. Moreover, individuals with coexisting health conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which often accompany diabetes, may face an elevated risk of diabetic retinopathy.

The risk of diabetic retinopathy is also influenced by lifestyle factors. Those who lead sedentary lifestyles, have poor dietary habits, or are overweight may have a higher likelihood of developing this condition. Furthermore, individuals who smoke or consume alcohol excessively may also be at an increased risk. Certain demographic factors, such as age, may contribute to the susceptibility to diabetic retinopathy, as older individuals tend to have a higher likelihood of experiencing complications associated with diabetes. Additionally, individuals with a family history of diabetes or diabetic retinopathy may have a genetic predisposition that increases their susceptibility to this eye condition.

Furthermore, individuals who have uncontrolled or poorly managed blood sugar levels for an extended period are more prone to experiencing the progressive stages of diabetic retinopathy. Patients with comorbidities, such as kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, or neuropathy, may also be at a higher risk of diabetic retinopathy due to the interconnected nature of these conditions with diabetes. Lastly, individuals with a history of eye-related complications, such as cataracts or glaucoma, may face an increased likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy, as these conditions can exacerbate the effects of diabetes on overall eye health.

Pregnant women who suffer from gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. If you have diabetes and are pregnant, get your eyes checked as soon as possible.

How to prevent diabetic retinopathy?
Preventing diabetic retinopathy is crucial for individuals living with diabetes, as it can significantly impact vision and overall eye health. Effective management and proactive measures can help minimize the risk and progression of this condition. Here are some detailed strategies to prevent diabetic retinopathy:

Regular Eye Examinations:
Schedule regular comprehensive eye examinations with an ophthalmologist or an eye specialist. These examinations can help detect any early signs of diabetic retinopathy, enabling timely intervention and treatment.

Blood Sugar Control:
Maintain stable and healthy blood sugar levels through proper diabetes management. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, adherence to a diabetic-friendly diet, and consistent medication or insulin management as prescribed by a healthcare provider can significantly reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy. Aim to keep your HbA1c levels within the recommended target range.

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Management:
Control and monitor blood pressure and cholesterol levels to reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and medication prescribed by a healthcare provider can help manage these risk factors.

Lifestyle Modifications:
Implement lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity, and avoiding habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Weight management through a balanced diet and regular exercise can contribute to better blood sugar control and overall well-being, reducing the risk of diabetic retinopathy.

Regular Health Check-ups:
Ensure regular check-ups with a healthcare provider to monitor the overall status of your health, including your eyes. Discuss any concerns or changes in vision during these appointments to facilitate timely detection and management of diabetic retinopathy.

Education and Awareness:
Educate yourself about the signs, symptoms, and risk factors associated with diabetic retinopathy. Awareness of the importance of early detection and management can encourage proactive measures and promote timely intervention.

Medication Adherence:
Strictly adhere to the medication regimen prescribed by your healthcare provider. Consistent and timely intake of prescribed medications, including insulin and other diabetes management drugs, is crucial for maintaining stable blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of diabetic retinopathy.

Regular Physical Activity:
Engage in regular physical activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling to promote overall health and well-being. Physical exercise can contribute to improved blood circulation and better management of diabetes, thereby reducing the risk of diabetic retinopathy.

Eye Protection:
Protect your eyes from potential injuries or strain by wearing appropriate eye protection when engaging in activities that could pose a risk to eye health. Additionally, avoid prolonged exposure to screens or devices that can strain the eyes, especially in individuals with diabetes.

By implementing these comprehensive preventive measures, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy and its associated complications, thereby preserving their vision and overall eye health.

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