Woman smiling Diabetic Awareness month

Diabetes Awareness Month: Understanding Diabetic Eye Care

This Diabetic Awareness Month, Grene Vision Group is shedding light on the intricate connection between diabetes and eye health. Did you know nearly 11% of the entire US population, approximately 37 million people, live with diabetes? 

In this article, our expert eye doctors explain the importance of eye care for diabetics and share knowledge on ways diabetic eye care patients can maintain optimal eye health and prevent serious vision loss. Grene Vision Group in the Wichita, Kansas area, is dedicated to elevating your understanding of this disease during Diabetic Awareness Month.

How Diabetes Impacts Eye Health

If you have Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, your blood sugar isn’t the only thing you need to watch out for. Unfortunately, diabetes is pretty rough on the eyes too. Beyond the commonly recognized symptoms, diabetes can induce conditions like diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma. High blood sugar levels can compromise the blood vessels in the eyes, potentially leading to significant issues. Untreated diabetes-related ocular conditions can escalate to blindness. This is why it’s so important to get regular exams and see your eye doctor as soon as possible if you experience a sudden loss of vision. In many cases, once your diabetic eye condition causes vision loss, you won’t be able to get it back. Prevention is key to maintaining healthy and clear vision.

How to Manage Your Diabetic Eye Condition

Prevention is the key to avoiding permanent vision loss. If you have a diabetic eye condition, following these tips can help you keep your vision sharp and healthy.

Control Your Blood Sugar Levels

As a diabetic, this is something you regularly need to do anyway. But if you have a diabetic eye condition, it’s especially important to keep your blood sugar levels in check. If your blood sugar spends too long outside of your recommended range, it could cause damage to your eyes. 

Watch Your Blood Pressure

Diabetes puts you at risk for a whole host of other health problems like increased blood sugar and elevated cholesterol. Unfortunately, these issues also impact your eyes. Heightened blood pressure can put a strain on your eyes which can cause potential vision problems down the road. If you have diabetic retinopathy, increased blood pressure can accelerate the rate at which your condition progresses. To maintain healthy vision, you’ll need to manage your blood pressure with regular monitoring, prescribed medications, healthier eating habits, and regular physical exercise. It's also recommended to avoid smoking as it can make your health issues worse. Healthy lifestyle choices are the key to better vision, especially if you’re diabetic.

Get Consistent Eye Exams

With diabetes, prevention is key. Remember, once you’ve lost vision because of a diabetic eye condition, in most cases it's permanent. The best way to detect diabetic eye issues before they cause damage is to get regular comprehensive eye exams. During these exams, the diabetic eye specialists at Grene Vision Group will run tests and examine the inner part of your eye to look for signs of diabetic eye conditions. If we find something, our expert eye doctors will work with you to create a treatment plan that keeps your vision clear and meets your unique needs. Grene Vision Group recommends diabetic patients get an eye exam at least once a year. However, depending on the severity of your condition, you may be asked to receive more frequent eye exams to monitor the progression and treatment of your diabetic eye disease. 

Diabetic Eye Diseases: What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

At its core, diabetic retinopathy is a consequence of blood vessels in the retina becoming compromised due to elevated blood sugar levels. It's a leading cause of blindness among adults. Understanding its phases is essential to averting irreversible vision damage. Preventing this condition from progressing is the only way to avoid permanent vision loss.

Stage One: Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR)

What is it: In Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR), the retinal blood vessels undergo weakening, leading to potential fluid or blood leakage. This can cause retina swelling. What to watch out for: Symptoms include blurred or distorted vision. The presence of "exudates" or yellowish deposits on the retina might also indicate NPDR's progression. If left untreated, NPDR can quickly escalate into Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy as the condition of the blood vessels in the eye worsens.

Stage Two: Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR)

What is it: In the advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy, there's an increased risk of damage as new blood vessels start forming on the retina. These fragile vessels are prone to breakage and can intrude into the vitreous gel, disrupting vision clarity. What to watch for: The first signs of PDR are usually a significant increase in floaters. A sudden drop in the sharpness of your vision can also indicate your diabetic retinopathy has progressed. If you think you’re experiencing Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy, seek help from the eye doctors are Grene Vision Group immediately.  If unchecked, PDR can lead to retinal detachment, posing severe threats to your vision and requiring surgery to correct.

Visit the Diabetic Eye Specialists in Wichita, Kansas

Diabetic Awareness Month provides the perfect opportunity to learn more about how diabetes affects your eyes and what you can do to save your vision. Living healthier and keeping on top of your diabetic symptoms are great ways to prevent serious problems for your eyes. However, having a dedicated eye care specialist is also a must.

At Grene Vision Group, our goal is to provide comprehensive diabetic eye care to keep your vision healthy and strong. Visit one of our locations throughout the Wichita, Kansas area to get your eyes checked out today! Quality diabetic eye care is only ever a call or click away at Grene Vision Group. Schedule an appointment with one of our highly-trained diabetic eye doctors.

Yates Center
Yates Center
Hutchinson West
Derby
Hutchinson East
Fredonia
Winfield
El Dorado
Harry and Rock
Augusta
East Central
Ridge Road
Wellington
Webb Road
Maize Road
Anthony
Seneca
Ophthalmology Clinic
Andover