November is Diabetes Awareness Month. You may wonder, what does diabetes have to do with eye health? We’ve put together a 3-minute read to help you understand the crucial connection and why getting regular eye exams is so important.
Over 3 million Canadians are living with diagnosed diabetes, and 6.1% of Canadian adults have prediabetes, putting them at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, affects your body's ability to regulate blood sugar. High blood sugar levels can harm various organs, including the eyes. Type 2 diabetes progresses gradually, and regular health checks including eye health examination are key to identifying, monitoring, and supporting your overall health and vision.
This condition damages the blood vessels in your retina, which is a key part of your eye, required for you to see images clearly. When these blood vessels weaken and leak, it can lead to vision problems and, if left untreated, even blindness.
High blood sugar levels may increase your risk of developing glaucoma. Glaucoma is often called the "silent thief of sight" because it can damage your optic nerve without any warning signs. Regular eye exams can help detect glaucoma early.
The importance of eye examinations
Many people, including those with diabetes, aren’t aware they have eye health issues until they recognize serious changes in their vision. Often the damage preceding those noticeable changes can’t be undone. That's why regular eye exams are so important, whether you have been diagnosed with diabetes or not.
Early Detection Prevention and Management
Regular eye check-ups by an optometrist can catch eye issues in their early stages. In fact, the micro-system that sustains the eye can provide a great deal of information about your overall health. When detected early, these problems are often more manageable and treatable.
Managing your diabetes effectively, along with lifestyle changes and medications, can help prevent or slow the progression of eye complications.
An additional benefit of maintaining a regular eye exam schedule is ensuring you have the best vision possible. Seeing clearly helps you to enjoy the benefits of an active life.
Here’s how you can support Diabetes Awareness Month and eye health
Schedule an Eye Exam
If you haven’t yet, it's time to book an eye exam and commit to a regular schedule of eye examinations that supports your eye health needs.
Spread the Word
Share this information with your loved ones. Encourage them to get their eyes checked, especially if they have diabetes.
Manage Your Diabetes
If you have a been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, work closely with your healthcare team to keep your blood sugar levels in check. The better you manage your diabetes, the lower your risk of eye complications.
Remember, your eyes are the windows to the world. Make this November a month of action, awareness, and clear vision. Your eyes will thank you, and so will your future self.
Book your eye exam today!