According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes are 40% more likely to suffer from glaucoma and 60% more likely to develop cataracts. They are extremely likely to develop some form of diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the retina, but this occurs less frequently for people who keep their blood glucose levels consistently closer to normal. Because high blood sugar can cause swelling in the eye, individuals with diabetes might also struggle with periodic blurred vision.
However, most people with diabetes will only encounter minor eye conditions, and when caught in the early stages they are very frequently treatable. This means that staying on top of your eye health is incredibly important! Here are some things you can do to protect your eyes:
1. Get to know your eye doctor
It’s important for everyone to get regular checkups, but given your increased risk for eye problems, your doctor can help spot any changes in your eye health early on. Make sure to consult your doctor if you notice any fluctuations in your vision.
We all spend a great deal of time in front of screens… computers, televisions, phones. It can be incredibly hard on our eyes. Fortunately there are some things you can do. Consider investing in an anti-glare screen. Computer glasses can take some of the burden off your eyes by helping you focus on what is called the “intermediate zone,” or a distance that is neither far away nor very close. Adjusting your computer screen is another quick and easy way to reduce the daily strain put on your eyes. Take advantage of the zoom feature and lighting options. While you’re at it, this might be a good time to adjust the settings on your phone as well!
3. Flex your peepers
One helpful exercise for your eyes is one doctors refer to as the “20-20-20 rule.” The goal is to look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes and focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This reduces the strain put on your eyes caused by staring at the same thing for prolonged periods. Also, remember to blink frequently to keep your eyes moistened. This will reduce the chances of developing issues caused by dry eyes.
Make sure your chair is an appropriate distance from your computer, and pay attention to your posture. If you find the lighting in your office is straining your eyes, bring a small desk lamp. Small adjustments to your comfort level can drastically reduce the daily stress you put on your eyes.
Take a break when you’re doing an activity that requires you to strain your eyes for long stretches. If you can, get outside for a few minutes. The change in lighting will be an added bonus that your eyes will appreciate!
L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.