People with diabetes need more than sunglasses to protect their eyes

The crack of the bat on Opening Day at Fenway Park is a sure sign that summer is on its way.

From the Green Monster seats to the dunes of Cape Cod, summer means bright sun, ultraviolet rays and of course, sunglasses. But did you know that people with diabetes need more than sunglasses to protect their eyes.

Diabetes puts people at risk for cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of vision loss. But in the majority of cases, vision can be preserved if the disease is caught early and treated.

The experts at Joslin Diabetes Center's Beetham Eye Institute offer these quick reminders to help keep your eyes in great shape not only in the summer but also all through the year:

  • Diabetic eye disease can have no pain or other symptoms until it reaches very advanced stages, and the earlier you can catch it, the more likely you can preserve your sight.
  • You can have perfect vision and still have diabetic eye disease.
  • An annual dilated eye exam can identify early eye complications and is important even if you don't have diabetic eye disease.
  • If your doctor finds signs of diabetic eye disease, a number of treatments may be recommended, including laser eye surgery, contact lenses, glasses and medications.
  • Keeping your A1C (average monthly blood glucose levels) on target, controlling blood pressure and quitting smoking also can help preserve vision and prevent vision loss.

Joslin Diabetes Center has been on the cutting edge of diabetes-related eye disease prevention and care since its inception and has set standards across the world for the treatment and care of people with diabetes. With more than 360,000 people in Massachusetts diagnosed with diabetes, and thousands more having the disease and not knowing it, there is great risk of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy. Comprehensive eye exams on an annual basis, proper management and care of your health, and of course, your favorite pair of sunglasses are all key to seeing your eyes in a new light. For an appointment at Joslin's Beetham Eye Institute, call (617) 732-2552. For more information on Joslin, visit


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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