To keep your vision sharp, taking care of your overall health will help you to avoid problems related to your diabetes.
This guide will provide you with 10 tips to take charge of your diabetes and protect your eyes.
As a bonus, there is an appointment calendar, medication chart and note section for detailing your eye health care treatment at the back of the guide for your use.
Summary of Guide:
- See your Optometrist Every 12 months
- Stay alert for changes in your vision
- Keep your blood sugar under control
- Keep your blood pressure under control
- Keep your cholesterol under control
- Find time to exercise
- Make small changes to your regular meals
- Quit smoking
- Wear sunglasses
- Know your insurance coverage
Scroll to the bottom for bonus advice from the Inspire Vision Care Team.
Download the PDF to have a copy in your home! The back of the PDF also includes a section for appointment reminders, a medication list, and a space for recording extra notes.
Tip #1: See your eye doctor at least once every 12 months.
Getting a team in place to help to monitor your eye health is the first check you should be putting in place so that you and your loved ones aren’t alone in trying to assess the health of your eyes and manage your diabetes.
Your team will always be comprised of an Optometrist and a Physician. Your team may also include the help of an Optical Professional and/or an Ophthalmologist.
- Find a family eye care practice
- If you haven’t had an eye exam in the last 12 months, schedule it today.
- Make sure a yearly appointment has been set.
Tip #2: Pick up the phone and call your Optometrist if you notice changes in your sight.
Fact: Being proactive with your vision care is the best way to protect your eyes.
Do not wait until things go from bad to worse. Get medical care as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Blurry vision
- Black spots
- Flashes of light
- Any loss or sight in one or both eyes
- Any pain or swelling behind your eye lids
- Keep the phone number of your Optometrist on hand in case of an emergency.
Tip #3: Monitor and control your blood sugar.
Fact: If you do this, you can slow damage to the blood vessels in your eyes.
In addition to monitoring your own blood sugar levels at home, you should have an A1c blood test several times per year.
A1c Blood Test: These show your blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months. Your results should be around 7% or less.
- Reduce intake of sugary foods where you can.
- If you are in need of an A1c Blood Test, or any other blood test, our health care partners at Appletree Medical Centre are happy to help you. Give them a call at: 1+ (647) 722-2370
Tip #4: Monitor and control your blood pressure.
Fact: High blood pressure leads to eye disease.
If you have high blood pressure and diabetes, you need to be even more diligent about getting regular support from your health care team.
In addition to monitoring your own blood pressure at home, you should be actively talking to your doctor about your blood pressure and how you can make life changes to keep your blood pressure at a healthy and manageable level.
- Monitor your stress levels and your plan to manage your blood pressure.
- If you are in need of a doctor to help manage your high blood pressure, our health care partners at Appletree Medical Centre are happy to help you. Give them a call at: 1+ (647) 722-2370
Tip #5: Monitor and control your cholesterol levels.
Fact: High cholesterol is hard to detect on your own because early onset usually has no signs or symptoms but it does result in a build up of plaque along the walls of your blood vessels and reduces blood flow from your heart to your other organs, including your eyes.
In addition to monitoring your cholesterol intake at home, you should consider a complete cholesterol test, often referred to as a lipid panel or lipid profile, every 5 years.
- Monitor your cholesterol levels and your plan to manage your intake of “good” and “bad” cholesterol.
- If you are in need of a doctor to help manage your cholesterol levels, our health care partners at Appletree Medical Centre are happy to help you. Give them a call at: 1+ (647) 722-2370
Tip #6: Set up times in your schedule to be active and have fun.
Fact: Exercise has a very positive influence on your blood sugar, blood pressure and your cholesterol.
If you use insulin or medication, be sure to check-in with your doctor about measuring your levels before and after your workouts – they will also have some great ideas as to what exercise will work best for you!
Finding the time and energy to exercise can be hard, but it’s easier when you plan for it. So find a way for it to be fun, get someone else involved with you and you’ll feel the results.
- Review your schedule and try to find 15-30 minutes a day, if you can, to get your body moving, and have fun.
- Ask your doctor about monitoring your levels before and after exercise.
Tip #7: Make healthier versions of your already accustomed meals.
Fact: Any food can fit into a well-balanced diet.
Your goal is to improve your existing relationship with food, build lasting habits and most importantly feel-good eating foods you love while staying healthy.
Eating healthier foods more regularly is key to improving energy levels, reducing cravings and anxiety, and maintaining a healthy weight. Eating less is not always the answer! Be sure to consult your doctor and/or your nutritionist to monitor your sugars and cholesterol.
- Find ways to balance your nutrition intake, like making healthy adjustments to the meals you already love and enjoy.
- If you are in need of a doctor and/or nutritionist, to help manage your diet, our health care partners at Appletree Medical Centre are happy to help you. Give them a call at: 1+ (647) 722-2370
Tip #8: Talk to your healthcare team about quitting smoking.
Fact: Quitting is hard, but it is easier when you have someone that holds you accountable and you have a real important reason to stop.
Smoking aggravates many health problems, including the disease of small blood vessels. Additionally, people with diabetes already have an increased risk of having a stroke or heart attack, and smoking only increases that risk.
Whether you’re a smoker and have tried to quit, or want to quit for the first time, don’t give up. Talk to your healthcare team about your options. Your goal is to remember why you want to quit and remind yourself daily.
- Write down reasons why you want to quit and remind yourself daily.
- Consider adding a smoking cessation expert to your health care team.
Tip #9: Wear your sunglasses more frequently.
Fact: Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, and more.
Living with diabetes already increases your risk of developing these conditions, so you need to make additional steps to protect yourself.
Wearing sunglasses with UV protection can help protect your eyes from these conditions – keeping your eyes healthier, longer. Like sunscreen, when you review the health benefits, you should consider sunglasses as an essential item when spending time in the sun.
- Meet with an eye care professional to discuss UV Light Protection and Sunglasses.
- Wear sunglasses any time you are planning to be outside for prolonged periods of time.
Tip #10: Understand your insurance coverage.
Fact: If you have been diagnosed with Diabetes, you are covered for an Eye Exam in Ontario under OHIP every 12 months. No checklist needed. You’re covered.
Unfortunately, OHIP does not cover the costs of eyewear such as glasses, sunglasses or contacts. However, there are many insurance companies who will help you afford these costs. There may even be a program at a local eye care practice that will allow you to make a payment plan for your eyewear. Explore your options, and make the decision that’s best for your circumstances.
Inspire Vision Care has put together another Free Resource all about Understanding Eye Care Coverage in Ontario and it’s available for you, for free on our website www.inspirevisioncare.ca under the Free Resources tab.
- Check out more Free Resources available at www.inspirevisioncare.ca
Expert Advice from Inspire Vision Care
Meet with an Optometrist As Soon As Possible
This is the single most important step you can take to monitor the health of your eyes.
We’re lucky to live in a province where this essential service is available to all diabetic patients every 12 months – take advantage of it and feel the relief of having a treatment plan in place that is unique to your circumstances.
Meet with an Optical Professional
Taking advantage of this conversation could save you hours and hundreds of dollars when you’re shopping for your eyewear.
Find a time to talk – we guarantee you’ll feel taken care of and leave the discussion with the peace of mind you deserve when you’re shopping eyewear.
If you cannot remember the last time you had an eye exam, it’s time for an eye exam.
Don’t put it off – schedule an eye exam today. Even if you believe you have perfect vision, an annual eye exam can be one of the best things you can do to protect your health.
Remember: Annual eye exams can detect other serious health problems.
Did you know that many people first discover they have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even cancer from their routine eye exam?
Find an eye care practice who will listen to your needs and answer your questions.
Consultations are available for your treatment plan, your prescription and even your next pair of glasses or contacts. We’re here to help.