Preventing eye complications and preserving vision are major priorities if you have diabetes: People with diabetes have higher risks of developing several eye problems that can cause permanent vision loss if untreated, and diabetes is the biggest cause of new cases of blindness in adults in the United States. Some of the eye complications that can accompany diabetes include cataract (clouding of the lens of the eye), glaucoma (an increase in pressure within the eye), and the most common eye complication, retinopathy (damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the membrane at the back of the eye).
However, these diseases are both preventable and treatable: Regular eye exams, good blood glucose control, and other measures, both medical and lifestyle-related, can lower your risk of developing them and protect your eyesight. And if your eyesight has already been affected, there’s a lot you can do to make the most of your remaining vision and maintain your independence. The following books, organizations, and online resources offer diabetes-related as well as general information on eye health.
THE AGING EYE
Preventing and Treating Eye Disease
Laura C. Fine, MD, and Jeffrey S. Heier, MD
Harvard Medical School
This entry in Harvard Medical School’s series of Special Health Reports focuses on the prevention of four common eye diseases: age-related macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. The book stresses the importance of regular eye exams, offering information on prevention, risk factors, and early signs and symptoms of those diseases and others, and describes ways to slow eye damage and minimize complications. The book can also be ordered as an electronic PDF file at the Harvard Health Publications Web site, www.health.harvard.edu.
THE DIABETES EYE CARE SOURCEBOOK
Donald S. Fong, MD, MPH, and Robin Demi Ross, MD
Los Angeles, 1998
This book covers eye problems and treatment, with separate chapters on eye care for children with diabetes, pregnant women who have diabetes, and people who have depression as well as diabetes.
MAYO CLINIC GUIDE TO BETTER VISION
Sophie J. Kabri, MD
Mayo Clinic Health Solutions
Rochester, Minnesota, 2007
This book offers information on how to diagnose, treat, and reverse common forms of eye disease, with tips on vision correction and ways to cope with low vision. It also includes practical guidelines on eye care basics.
DIABETIC EYE DISEASE
Lessons from a Diabetic Eye Doctor
A. Paul Chous, MA, OD
Fairwood Press, Inc.
Kent, Washington, 2003
The author of this book, an optometrist who has Type 1 diabetes, presents a detailed description of the anatomy of the eye, along with information on preventing and treating seven forms of eye disease common in people with diabetes. The book offers recommendations for how to advocate for yourself, including questions to ask your eye doctor and what to expect from a comprehensive eye exam.
CLEVELAND CLINIC HEALTH LIBRARY: EYE CARE
This site covers the basics of eye care — how vision is measured, methods to correct low vision, and what activities can be affected by vision loss. Other subjects addressed include tips on first aid for the eye, how to administer eye medicines, and what to expect on a visit to the eye doctor.
DIABETES SELF-MANAGEMENT: EYES & VISION
Read articles on maintaining good eye health, preventing complications, and finding and using talking meters and other adaptive diabetes supplies when you have low vision or blindness.