November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month, a campaign created to promote awareness on vision loss and blindness related to diabetes. According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic eye diseases (such as cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy) are among the leading causes of blindness and vision loss in the U.S. Yet, research shows that many of these cases are preventable. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is imperative that you stay on top of your health in order to protect your vision. Here, the trusted eye experts at Collins Vision share five ways you can help keep your vision strong for years to come.

1. Control Your Blood Sugar

High blood sugar can affect the shape of the eye’s lens, causing blurry vision. Once your blood sugar stabilizes, vision may improve. High blood sugar can also damage the blood vessels in the eyes, which in turn may lead to subconjunctival hemorrhage (bleeding under the conjunctiva). Controlling your blood sugar helps avoid these problems.

2. Maintain Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Maintaining both your blood pressure and cholesterol is important not only for your eyes but also your health in general. Eating a healthy, reduced-fat diet can help control high blood pressure and cholesterol. Be sure to consult your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet. Your doctor may prescribe medication depending on your needs.

3. Quit Smoking or Never Start

We know smoking is terrible for your overall health, but it also puts your eyesight at risk. Smoking increases your risk for diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, macular degeneration and other eye diseases. If you need help quitting smoking, talk with your doctor about ways to help you stop.

4. Exercise Regularly

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a recent study shows regular exercise can decrease the risk for cataracts and other eye conditions. Additionally, working out boosts your cardiovascular health, which in turn keeps blood vessels in the eyes healthy and your vision strong.

5. Get a Comprehensive Dilated Exam

The most important thing you can do to safeguard your vision against diabetic eye diseases is to schedule regular comprehensive dilated eye exams. During the exam, your eye doctor will carefully examine the retina and optic nerve of your eye for signs of damage. Many eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, have no visible symptoms during their early stages. Dilated eye exams are important tools in early detection and treatment, lowering the risk of severe vision loss and blindness.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are concerned about your eye health, contact Collins Vision today. Schedule your personal consultation by calling our Fort Myers office at (239) 936-4706.