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Diabetes is a condition characterized by an elevated level of the blood glucose due to the insufficient production of the Insulin by the Beta cells of the pancreas. The high blood glucose level can also be an outcome of the inability of the body cells to utilize or respond to the insulin produced - a condition termed as Insulin Resistance.
Today, Diabetes has become a raging problem affecting almost every second individual, irrespective of their age, sex or ethnicity. What is even worse is the fact that the metabolic disorder affects a host of the vital body organs including the eyes. In many diabetic patients (diabetes left unmanaged and uncontrolled for long), the high blood sugar or Hyperglycemia can give rise to many eye complications such as:
- Diabetic Retinopathy (Hyperglycemia that triggers progressive damage of the blood vessels of the retina that can eventually even lead to blindness).
- Incidences of Cataract (a condition that causes clouding of the clear eye lenses affecting one's vision) and Glaucoma (a severe eye problem that results from the damages to the optic nerve of the eye) are on a rise in diabetic patients.
Thus, it becomes essential to carry out the preventive measure to deal with diabetes-related eye problems and the associated complications.
Protecting the eyes from Diabetes
- Controlling Diabetes: Amongst different eye care or preventive measures, foremost is to make sure that diabetes and the blood glucose level are within control. A glucometer can help to monitor the blood glucose levels at home. Regular lab tests for Fasting and Post prandial(FBS, PP2BS) blood sugar tests should be done at a frequency advised by treating physician along with HbA1c. Eliminating the underlying factor can work wonders to avoid the various eye problems resulting from diabetes.
- Regular eye-checks: People with diabetes need to be careful. Consult your family physician or a specialist at the earliest for discomforts and symptoms such as a headache, watery eyes, blurred, distorted or double vision. Regular eye-checks and screening tests are equally important to safeguard the eyes from the harmful consequences of diabetes.
- Keep a check on other medical disorders: Conditions such as Hypercholesterolemia (elevated levels of blood cholesterol), high blood pressure, along with diabetes, are the worst nemesis that can result in a myriad of eye disorders. Make sure the blood pressure is within the control (to avoid complications, try to maintain a blood pressure below 140/80) and so is the level of bad cholesterol or LDL (Low-density lipoprotein).
- Keep your body moving: Exercises and physical activities (morning or evening walks, jogging) can play a pivotal role in keeping diabetes under control, thereby shielding the eyes from problems such as cataract, glaucoma. Keeping the body weight within the healthy and recommended range can also work towards managing the blood glucose level.
- Healthy dietary modifications: Diabetic patients should be careful with their choice of foods. Dark chocolates, lean meat, whole grains, fish, cinnamon, turmeric, fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, blueberries, spinach, walnuts, sweet potatoes, asparagus, apricots, apples, to name a few are healthy options for a diabetic patient.
- Smoking can spell doom for the eyes and is best avoided.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!