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Diabetic Retinopathy: Controlling Your Risk Factors

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when diabetes harms blood vessels in the rear of the eye. This can lead to vision loss. You can help reduce your risk of vision loss by taking care of your health. Managing your diabetes and other health problems can make diabetic retinopathy less likely. Woman sitting at table with diabetes educator.

Manage Your Diabetes

You can help protect your vision. To do this, keep your blood sugar level in a healthy range, check your blood sugar often, follow your diabetes management plan, and work closely with your health care providers. This includes your endocrinologist (a doctor who specializes in diabetes), primary care provider, or any other provider who helps to manage your diabetes. He or she can help if you are having trouble keeping your blood sugar in range.

Control Your Risk Factors

There are other factors that damage blood vessels. These can make diabetic retinopathy worse. These factors include:

  • High blood pressure

  • Smoking

  • High cholesterol

Work with your health care team to control these problems. This can help lower your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. A diabetes educator can help you control blood pressure and high cholesterol. He or she can also talk to you about programs to help you quit smoking. Diabetic patients should also see an eye doctor regularly for an eye exam.   

To Learn More

The resources below can help you learn more:

  • American Diabetes Association 

  • Lighthouse International 

  • National Eye Institute 

  • Hormone Health Network 


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