Diabetic Retinopathy: Controlling Your Risk Factors
Diabetic retinopathy happens when diabetes harms blood vessels in the rear of the eye. This can lead to vision loss. You can help reduce your risk of vision loss by taking care of your health. Managing your diabetes and other health problems can make diabetic retinopathy less likely.
Manage your diabetes
You can help protect your vision. To do this, keep your blood sugar level in a healthy range, check your blood sugar often, follow your diabetes management plan, and work closely with your healthcare providers. This includes your endocrinologist (a healthcare provider who specializes in diabetes), primary care provider, or any other provider who helps to manage your diabetes. He or she can help if you are having trouble keeping your blood sugar in range.
Control your risk factors
There are other factors that damage blood vessels. These can make diabetic retinopathy worse. These factors include:
High blood pressure
Work with your healthcare team to control these problems. This can help lower your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. A diabetes educator can help you control blood pressure and high cholesterol. He or she can also talk to you about programs to help you quit smoking. Diabetic patients should also see an eye healthcare provider regularly for an eye exam (at least every 1 to 2 years).
To learn more
The resources below can help you learn more:
American Diabetes Association
National Eye Institute
Hormone Health Network
March 21, 2017
Prevention and treatment of diabetic retinopathy. UpToDate, Telehealth Practice Recommendations for Diabetic Retnopathy, 2nd ed. Li HK. Telemedicine Journal and E-Health. 2011;17(10):814-837.
Brown, Kim, APRN,Hurd, Robert, MD,Image reviewed by StayWell art team.