Keeping Your Eyes and Feet Healthy When You Are
If you do not control your glucose level you may be at risk for retinopathy. Retinopathy is
diabetic damage to the small blood vessels of the retina. The retina is the part of the eye that is sensitive to
light and that sends messages to your brain about what you are seeing.
The glucose level of your blood can affect your blood vessels and nerves of your entire body.
Damage to these blood vessels and nerves can lead to health problems with your eyes and feet.
You can keep your eyes and feet healthy when you have diabetes by following these tips.
Know how to monitor your glucose level, blood pressure and cholesterol level.
- Exercise on a regular basis.
- Keep regular appointments with your doctor
- Make sure you consume a healthy diet
- Stop smoking or alcohol consumption if you do either of these habits.
Eye problems diabetics are at risk for:
If you do not control your glucose level you may be at risk for retinopathy. Retinopathy is diabetic damage to
the small blood vessels of the retina.
The retina is the part of the eye that is sensitive to light and that sends messages to your brain about what
you are seeing.
If the blood vessels of your retina become damaged due to high levels of glucose in your blood, you may
experience fluid leakage, which will then cause swelling in your macula.
The macula is the part of your eye that is responsible for giving you clear, sharp vision. If the retinopathy
worsens, the eye may begin to form new blood vessels over the retina.
Scar tissue will form, which than causes the retina to break away from the back of the eye, which will result in
If retinopathy is found early, laser treatment can help to keep you from going blind.
Partnering with your Diabetes Doctor:
In order for you to receive the best diabetic care from your doctor you need to be able to fully participate in your diabetes management plan. To do this you need to understand the disease and how weight, eating habits, and physical activity affect your blood sugar level. You need to understand why you may need to take medications to control your blood sugar and what relationship exists between your medications and the foods you consume.
In order for your doctor to be able to effectively advice and direct your care, there needs to be an honest relationship between you and the doctor.
You can prevent diabetic retinopathy by making sure that you have regular eye exams (twice a year). The early
signs of retinopathy can only be detected by special equipment that your eye doctor uses.
You should contact your eye doctor immediately if you notice blurred vision that lasts longer than 2 days, you
suddenly lose vision in one or both eyes, or you see black spots, cobwebs or flashing lights (that are not really
Caring for your feet when you are diabetic:
If your blood vessels in your feet are damaged you will not be able to receive adequate amounts of blood in your
Damage to blood vessels in your feet can cause you to experience numbness or painful tingling in your feet.
A lack of blood supply can compromise your ability to fight off infection in your feet. This is why sores on the
feet of diabetics often are difficult to heal.
Diabetics should regularly check their feet for the presence of blisters, calluses, or ingrown toenails. All of
these conditions can cause foot problems.
You should have a professional check your feet at least yearly as well as monitor them yourself on a daily
To prevent foot problems:
- wash your feet daily in warm water and soap, gently pat them dry never rub your feet.
- Use lotion on your feet but NOT between your toes.
- Change your soaks on a daily basis.
- Do not go barefoot.
- Wear soft leather shoes (deerskin) that provide plenty of room for your toes. If your toes should rub
together place lamb's wool between them.
- Make sure your toenails are cut. Soak them in warm water (for 10 minutes) before cutting them to make it
easier to cut the nails.
- Do not cut into the corners or too close to your skin.
- Keep your feet warm, but avoid using hot surfaces such as heaters, fireplaces, or water bottles if you have
a loss of feeling in your feet to avoid burns.
Always call your doctor if you need to treat corns or calluses.