Diabetic retinopathy is a retinal condition associated with diabetes. When a person is suffering from diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels at the back of the eye grow irregularly, which can cause them to leak into the retina. Diabetic retinopathy interferes with a person’s vision, and can eventually lead to complete vision loss.
Diabetic retinopathy is a progressive condition that is easier to manage when it is caught early. Early stage cases can often be successfully managed with simple lifestyle changes. At Monterey County Eye Associates, we recommend lifestyle changes for diabetic retinopathy treatment for our Salinas, CA, and Monterey, CA, patients.
Adopt A Healthy Diet
When a person suffers from diabetes, the body is unable to keep blood sugar levels under control, either because the body cannot process glucose or fails to produce insulin. Elevated blood sugar is the primary concern for diabetic patients, and one of the leading causes of diabetic retinopathy.
Fortunately, by adopting a healthier diet, diabetic patients can do a lot to control blood sugar levels. It is important to monitor all food choices to ensure that the body is being fueled by healthy foods that are high in nutrients and low in sugar. An ideal diet will include a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, and protein. Simple carbohydrates and foods that are high in fat or sugar should be avoided.
Exercise is another way for our patients to keep blood sugar levels under control. When the body is in an active state, it uses glucose, which naturally decreases blood sugar levels. Everyone should aim for at least 30 minutes of activity three to five days a week, but the habit is especially beneficial to diabetic patients.
In addition to lowering blood sugar levels, exercise (along with a nutritious diet) helps individuals maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is one of the leading risk factors of diabetic retinopathy, so an active lifestyle goes a long way in helping patients manage this eye disease.
Be Proactive with Healthcare
Regular physicals and routine eye exams are vital for all patients, but those with diabetes or diabetic retinopathy are likely to require even more frequent check-ups. Exams allow doctors to monitor the health of the eyes and body, and check for any signs of complications or disease progression.
If issues develop, or if additional treatment is needed, doctors can make necessary adjustments before conditions worsen. If diabetic patients are not already being proactive with their healthcare, it is important that they make this lifestyle change.
Smoking and the use of other tobacco products has been linked to an increased risk of diabetic retinopathy. Any smoker who suffers from diabetes should quit this habit as soon as possible. We understand that it is difficult to quit this addictive habit, but our doctors are happy to recommend tips and support groups that can make the adjustment a little easier.
Schedule an Appointment
If you suffer from diabetes, routine eye exams are essential to the maintenance of your eye health. To schedule an appointment with the experienced eye doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates in Salinas and Monterey, contact us at your earliest convenience or call (831) 424-1150.