November is National Diabetes Month; here are some tips to stay healthy and keep the disease from stealing your vision

November is National Diabetes Month, and if you’re one of more than 370,000 Kentuckians with the disease, in addition to watching your diet and keeping track of your blood sugar, it’s also important to have regular eye exams.

A comprehensive dilated eye exam can catch
diabetic eye disease early, before symptoms appear

Diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of vision loss among working-age Americans, says a release from the National Institutes of Health.  Diabetic retinopathy is the most common form of this disease, affects=ing more than 7 million Americans, a number that is expected to reach 11 million by the year 2030.

Since diabetic retinopathy has no symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage, it is important to get regular dilated eye exams so it can be detected early, says the release. Fortunately with early detection and timely treatment, the risk of severe vision loss from the diabetic retinopathy can be reduced by 95 percent.

If you have diabetes, controlling the disease will reduce your risk of developing diabetic eye disease. It’s now a good time to remember these health tips too:

  • Get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. 
  • Tell your doctor if you’re feeling down or if your eyesight changes.
  • Control your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  
  • Take your medicine even when you feel Ok.
  • Be active for 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week.
  • Eat healthy foods like:
    • fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meats and poultry, dried peas or beans, lentils, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese
    • whole grain foods such as whole wheat bread and crackers, oatmeal, brown rice, and cereals
    • food prepared with little added fat, oil, salt, or sugar
    • smaller servings of meat, fish, and poultry
    • larger servings of fruits and vegetables. 

Click here to learn more about diabetic eye disease from the National Eye Institute.
Click here to learn more about preventing and managing diabetes from the National Diabetes Education Program or here for additional tips on staying healthy with diabetes.

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