Keep Your Eyes Healthy – The Latest Research on Diabetes Retinopathy
Keep Your Eyes Healthy – The Latest Research
Eyes are a fascinating organ. Our eyes detect light and then send signals to the brain via the optic nerve. In short, they allow us to see all the wonderful things around us. The only more complex organ in our body than the eye is our brain. Knowing this is a good reminder of the importance of keeping our eyes healthy.
Diabetes retinopathy (DR) is an eye condition that can cause vision loss and blindness in people who have diabetes (1). Over time high blood sugars can cause a blockage in the tiny blood vessels leading to the retina. In this article, we are going to explore some recent research on nutrients that may play a role in DR along with practical tips on keeping your eyes healthy.
I recently read an article in Medical Dialogues titled “Supplementation of Micronutrients May Play a Vital Role in Diabetes Retinopathy: Study”. It shared results of very interesting research that was done on the impact that supplementation of vitamins C, D, and E have on DR. This research included 517 patients with diabetes. They were all age 40 or older and 159 were identified as already having DR. The results found that vitamin C alone was associated with a lower risk of DR. Also, lower levels of circulating vitamins C, D, and E were found in patients who had DR than those who did not. While this research is very exciting, the effects of micronutrients such as vitamins C, D, and E are not fully known and more research is needed. Also, please remember that supplements should only be taken in recommended amounts and be coordinated with your health care professional.
I am so happy when I hear of research efforts to improve the self-care of diabetes. Along with new advancements in learning, there are things you can do now to reduce the risk of DR.
Here are some tips to keep your eyes healthy from the American Academy of Ophthalmology
Get a comprehensive dilated eye examination from your ophthalmologist at least once a year Early stages of eye disease may have no symptoms. A dilated eye exam allows your ophthalmologist to examine the retina and optic nerve so treatment can begin as soon as possible if needed.
Control your blood sugar Over time, high blood sugar can cause damage to the blood vessel in the eye. The good news is that keeping control of your blood sugar prevents these side effects.
Maintain a healthy blood pressure High blood pressure and cholesterol can increase your risk for eye disease and vision loss. Work with your physician to keep these numbers at an appropriate level.
Do not smoke If you smoke, now is a great time to quit. There are resources and professionals available to help you. I suggest you start with www.waytoquit.org or join a local support group.
Stay physically active Exercise is good for your eyes and your diabetes. Find things that you enjoy doing so you can be active every day.
SaRene Brooks is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist whose focus is lifestyle intervention. She earned a bachelor of science degree in dietetics from Utah State University.
SaRene’s professional experience includes receiving accreditation for and directing a complete Diabetes Self-Management Education program. She also spent many years leading a lifestyle change program for weight management and chronic disease prevention. She thrives on providing the kind of care and education that empowers people to reach their personal health goals.