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How Diabetes Affect Your Eyes and Eye Care Tips

Diabetes and Eye Problems continued...

If the damage to your blood vessels is worse and they already bleed, you may need a vitrectomy. This procedure takes out abnormal blood vessels from the inside of your eyeball. These fragile vessels can tear, causing bleeding in your eye. You may also need treatment to repair a detached retina or damaged macula caused by this new blood vessel growth.

If you have macular edema, laser surgery or drugs placed inside your eye can slow leaking around the macula.

Diabetes and cataracts: You're more likely to have cataracts -- and at a younger age -- if you have diabetes. Cataracts cloud your eye's lens and cause blurred vision. If you have mild cataracts, sunglasses and glare-control glasses can help. If it's severe, cataract surgery replaces the cloudy lens with a man-made lens to improve your vision.

Diabetes and glaucoma: Having diabetes doubles your odds of glaucoma, a condition that puts added pressure in your eye. This extra pressure can damage the retina and the optic nerve, the main eye nerve for sight. You likely won't have symptoms early on. Some people slowly lose vision or see bright halos or colored rings around lights. Glaucoma is treated with prescription eyedrops to lower eye pressure. In some cases, you may need laser treatment or surgery.

Eye Care: 6 Steps to Prevent Eye Problems

Protect your eyesight with these eye care tips:

1. Manage your blood sugar.

One of the best things you can do for your eyes is to keep your blood sugar at near-normal levels. Steady blood sugar control can slow the damage to the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. This helps prevent or delay the start of eye problems linked to diabetes. Two to four times a year, have an A1c blood test, which measures your glucose levels for the past 2 to 3 months. This helps your doctor to better plan your treatment. Aim for a test result of around 7% or less.

2. Manage your blood pressure.

Control your blood pressure to help slow or prevent eye disease caused by diabetes. Have your blood pressure checked by your doctor at every visit. If a low-salt diet, staying at a healthy weight, and exercise aren't enough to keep it under control, you may need drugs to bring it down to a healthier level. The goal for most people with diabetes is blood pressure of less than 140/80.