Understanding Diabetic Eye Diseases

Diabetes is a serious disease that occurs when the body can not properly process glucose causing an increased amount of sugar in the blood. High blood sugar levels can damage many parts of the body and contribute to diseases such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and diabetic eye disease.

Diabetic eye disease refers to a number of eye disorders that affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common of these disorders and the leading cause of vision loss among adults 15 – 64. This disease occurs when damaged blood vessels inside the retina leak and impede vision. Early detection and treatment are essential in preventing permanent vision loss. Symptoms to watch for include blurry vision, floaters, poor peripheral vision, and eye pain.

Those suffering from diabetic retinopathy can eventually develop fluid build-up in the macula from the leaking blood vessels. This condition is called diabetic macula edema. The macula is the part of the retina that is responsible for sharp forward vison. Over time this disease can lead to partial vision loss or blindness.

Diabetic Disease Prevention Tips:

  • Control your diabetes
  • Have regular eye exams
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in leafy green vegetables and foods containing generous amounts of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Check your blood pressure regularly
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels
  • Don’t smoke
  • Wear proper UV rated sun glasses
  • Know your family history

Visit the ADA Diabetes Food Hub for diabetic friendly eating tips and recipes to share with your clients and staff. Consider making some of these dishes to share with your referral partners.

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