Take these steps to lower your risk of diabetes-related vision loss.

Reducing your risks of diabetic macular edema

Diabetic macular edema is a serious eye condition that can happen in people with diabetes. Because the condition is painless, you may not know you have it until it starts to affect your vision. If you have diabetes, the thought of potentially losing your sight can be worrisome. But fortunately, there are many things you can do to help your eyes stay healthy and keep your vision clear for years to come.

Reducing your risks of diabetic macular edema

Many of the same things that your health care provider recommends to manage your diabetes also helps protect your eyes:

  • Keep your blood sugar levels under control. Keeping blood sugar levels close to normal greatly lowers your risk of developing diabetic macular edema. Check your blood sugar and adjust your diabetes medicine or your insulin as directed by the health care provider managing your diabetes.
  • Manage your blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause the blood vessels in your eyes to weaken and leak fluid. Work with your provider to meet your blood pressure goals.
  • Lower your cholesterol. Having high amounts of fatty deposits in your blood can contribute to the development of diabetic macular edema. Lowering your levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the so-called "bad" cholesterol, can help prevent damage to blood vessels in your eyes.
  • Don't smoke. Tobacco increases the amount of sugar in your blood and weakens blood vessels in your eyes. It also puts you at risk of developing other diseases.
  • Stay at, or reach, 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 medicines, regular aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to control your blood sugar levels. Aim for at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise every week. That's just a little over 20 minutes a day.

Adopting healthier habits is 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.

Feb. 28, 2023