Diabetic Blindness Prevention

While there are no guaranteed ways to prevent diabetic blindness or vision loss, diabetic patients can take certain steps to maximize their chance of maintaining healthy vision. By catching diabetic eye problems early, it is possible to provide treatments that have been proven to stabilize or improve your vision. It is recommended that all diabetic patients undergo an eye exam every year.

If a patient with diabetes develops swelling in the back of his or her eye (macular edema), an injection of medication or a laser surgery can be used to preserve their vision. Also, if they develop new blood vessels and bleeding in the back of their eye (proliferative diabetic retinopathy), different laser surgery or even vitrectomy surgery may be necessary to save their vision.

Between examinations, steps to protect your vision include:

  • Controlling blood sugar - Researchers have shown a clear relationship between poor blood sugar control and diabetic blindness. Controlling glucose levels is the primary way to avoid diabetic blindness.
  • Maintaining normal blood pressure - People with high blood pressure who have had diabetes for ten or more years are at risk for a particularly aggressive type of diabetic blindness.
  • Avoiding obesity - Obese individuals are twice as likely to develop diabetic blindness. At least 2 ½ hours of moderate physical activity per week is enough to stay healthy.
  • Staying healthy - Illnesses such as diabetic heart and kidney disease can raise the risk of diabetic blindness.
  • Quitting smoking - The chemicals in cigarettes are thought to prevent the body from absorbing lutein, an antioxidant that helps protect the retina.

Temple's ophthalmologists are highly experienced in recognizing the early signs of diabetic blindness and helping patients take the necessary steps to prevent it from progressing.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple ophthalmologist, click here or call 1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).