May is Healthy Vision Month. We often visit our doctor or nurse regularly to make sure our bodies are healthy. But what about our eyes? They’re not always top of mind, but they’re just as important as the rest of us.
If you have diabetes, you are at a higher risk for developing eye problems that can lead to blindness. With regular checkups, you can keep minor problems minor. And if you do develop a major problem, there are treatments that often work well if you begin them right away.
Here are ways that you can make your vision a priority and protect your eyes:
Get a dilated eye exam. Getting a dilated eye exam is the only way to catch eye diseases early—because with many, there are no warning signs. Talk to your eye care professional about how often you should have one. The American Diabetes Association generally recommends having this exam annually if you have diabetes.
Live a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods, maintaining a healthy weight, managing blood glucose levels and not smoking can lower your risk of eye disease.
Know your family history. Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease, because many are hereditary. This will help determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease yourself.
Use protective eyewear. Protect your eyes when doing chores around the house, playing sports or on the job to prevent eye injuries from happening. This includes wearing safety glasses, goggles, safety shields and eye guards that are made of polycarbonate.
Wear sunglasses. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation, so you can keep your vision sharp and eyes healthy. A hat offers great protection, too!
Taking these steps can help prevent vision loss, blindness and many eye diseases and conditions from occurring. For more information on diabetes and eye complications, please visit our website or the Healthy Vision Month website from the National Eye Institute.