DIABETICS: Take Good Care Of Your Eyes!
Patricia Zifferblatt | March 17, 2009

One of the most serious consequences-results of being a diabetic is diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that can lead to blindness or dramatic loss of vision. Diabetic retinopathy is a long-term complication of diabetes and an eye disorder caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina of the eye. Johns Hopkins Health Alert states that almost all people with Type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes and more than 70% of people with Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes will experience some degree of retinopathy. Since diabetic retinopathy usually has no symptoms, many diabetics go without proper treatment, leading to rapid progression of the retinopathy and eventual blindness. There are some visual changes that a diabetic, as well as his-her family members, should look for and report to their physician:

Sudden loss of vision in one eye
Blurred vision
Problems reading
Double vision
Pain in one or both eyes
Pressure in the eyes
The appearance of spots or floaters in the eye
Problems seeing thing with peripheral vision
There are also some preventative actions that a diabetic can take to eliminate or slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy. They include the following:
Regular physical and eye examinations so that problems may be detected and treated early;

Control blood glucose levels! By keeping blood glucose levels as normal (suggested) as possible, there will be less damage to the retina of the eye. Additionally, more blood tests should be taken every 3-6 months to monitor medications' effectiveness;

Control blood pressure! High blood pressure when not treated properly can also damage the retina of the eye. Keep your blood pressure below 130/80 to prevent any further damage to the eye;

Control cholesterol levels! Since diabetics have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke, having healthy blood cholesterol levels (including HDL and LDL) can provide an added benefit for the diabetic;

DO NOT SMOKE!
There are no guarantees, no Blue Fairies, and no Silver Bullets. But there is prevention and healthy lifestyle, both proven to help the diabetic live a better life.
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