Importance of Diabetes Control to Saving Eyesight

The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), a large research project, showed that better control of blood sugar levels slows the onset and progression of diabetes eye disease and other complications of diabetes including gangrene, kidney disease and nerve disease. People with diabetes who kept their blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible also had much less kidney and nerve disease. Better control also reduces the need for sight-saving laser surgery.

Other studies have shown that controlling cholesterol, and elevated blood pressure – one of Health Power’s “Big 4 Special Health Targets” – can also reduce the risk of vision loss. Also, controlling these will help your overall health in addition to helping to protect your vision.

What a Complete or Comprehensive Eye Examination Includes

A complete comprehensive eye exam includes:

  • Visual Acuity TestThis eye chart test measures how well a person can see at various distances.
  • Dilated Eye ExamDrops are placed in the eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils so that the   eye care professional can see better see inside of the eyes in checking for disease.
  • TonometryAn instrument is used to measure the pressure inside each eye. Numbing drops may be applied to the eyes for this test.

Treatment of Diabetic Eye Disease

To avoid progression of diabetic eye disease, people with diabetes should control their levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol. However, as the condition progresses, laser treatment or more involved surgery may be necessary.

Special Note: For those who have already developed decreased vision, many communities have low vision counseling, training and other services.

For more information on Diabetes, check out the following:

-          The other topics in our Diabetes Section [link to Diabetes Index page Our Major Killers, etc.]

-          Our “Diabetes is Never Just a Touch of Sugar” Tip Sheet [Link to]

-          American Diabetes Association – See in our Resource Directory for Minority Health [Link to Directory]


Remember the Health Power tagline, or motto: Knowledge + Action = Power®

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