• Tips for Diabetics

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    If you have diabetes you should know that you are more vulnerable to eye diseases like cataracts, retinopathy and blindness. Several factors influence whether you get retinopathy. These include your blood sugar control, your blood pressure levels and the duration of time that you have had diabetes.

    The longer you've had diabetes, the more likely you are to have retinopathy. Almost everyone with type 1 diabetes will eventually have non-proliferative retinopathy. Most people with type 2 uncontrolled diabetes will also get it.

    But you can take charge and prevent such troubles.

    Here are some tips that can help fight these eye disorders.

    • All diabetics must have their eyes examined by dilating their eyes, in order to check the retina thoroughly.
    • Be aware of the symptoms such as blurred vision, shadows, and spots, flashes of light, floaters, seeing double and partial or complete loss of vision in one or both eyes. These are signs for you to schedule a visit with the eye specialist at once.
    • Even with proliferative retinopathy, the more dangerous form, people sometimes have no symptoms until it is too late to treat them. So, do visit your eye specialist regularly even if not experiencing any symptoms.
    • Keep a yearly appointment with the ophthalmologist. "Taking just an hour or so to have a dilated eye examination, at least once a year can save people with diabetes from a lifetime of complications and even blindness," said Dr Rahul Shroff, Vitreo-retinal and Diabetic Retinopathy specialist at Shroff Eye Hospital, Mumbai.
    • Do not settle for an optician. Only an eye specialist can dilate the pupils and detect any changes that suggest retinopathy.
    • Keep your blood sugar levels in control. Avoid sugary snacks and foods that are highly processed and made from white flour. Your diet must include a lot of high fiber food, unsalted nuts, fruits and vegetables.
    • Keep your blood pressure in control. High blood pressure by itself can lead to eye disease, so if you have high blood pressure as well as diabetes, it is especially important that you take steps to control both conditions as you are at a higher risk than others.
    • Vast advances have been made in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Keep yourself updated with this knowledge.
    • The earlier problems are diagnosed, the more successful the treatments can be.
    • Treatments such as laser photocoagulation, done in time, prevent blindness in most people.