Reducing your risks of diabetic macular edema

A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of diabetic macular edema.

Diabetic macular edema is a serious diabetes-related eye condition that can cause vision loss. Many factors influence your risk of developing this condition. There are certain risk factors for diabetic macular edema that you simply can't control — including the fact that you have diabetes and the length of time since your diabetes diagnosis.

Fortunately, you can do something about other risk factors. In fact, many of the same things that your doctor recommends to keep your diabetes in check will also help protect your eyes:

  • Keep your blood sugar levels under control. Those who keep their blood sugar levels close to normal have a lower risk of developing diabetic macular edema than those who don't. Check your blood sugar throughout the day and work with your doctor to adjust the dose of your diabetes medication or your insulin doses, if you're taking insulin.
  • Manage your blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause the blood vessels in your eyes to weaken and leak fluid. Work with your doctor to meet your blood pressure goals.
  • Don't smoke. Tobacco weakens blood vessels, including in your eyes, and also puts you at risk of developing other diseases.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Like smoking, being overweight can increase your blood sugar and weaken blood vessels in your eyes.
  • Exercise regularly. In addition to insulin and oral medications, regular aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to control your blood sugar levels.

Adopting healthier habits isn't easy, but it's one of the best things you can do to protect your vision and your overall health. Can you find an extra 15 minutes or 30 minutes to exercise this week? Can you eat a healthy breakfast tomorrow? Can you go for a walk on your lunch hour or after work? Small steps can make a difference.

March 02, 2018 See more In-depth