Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially blinding complication of diabetes that damages the eye's retina. It effects half of all Americans diagnosed with diabetes.
At first, you may notice no change in your vision, but don't let diabetic retinopathy fool you. The condition could get worse over the years and threaten your vision. With timely treatment, 90% of those with advanced diabetic retinopathy can be saved from blindness.
Since we consider most eye conditions to be a reflection of the health of the whole body, lifestyle choices and diet can play a major factor in cultivating and maintaining good vision. Below are some recommendations:
- Learn about maintaining retinal health - sugar conditions
- Healthy eye support. Detailed recommendations for healthy vision.
- Make your own fresh, organic, juice daily. Our retinal sugar support recipe is some combination of: ginger, garlic, asparagus, leeks, spinach,
Jerusalem artichokes, parsley, pumpkin, beets, celery, cabbage, carrots, chlorophyll, raspberries (not too much fruit).
See more information on juicing.
- Water Drink 6-8 glasses of purified water daily.
- Eat cold water fish (including mackerel, salmon, sardines) two to three times a week.
- Increase fiber in your diet, and eat meals slowly.
- Take digestive aids (in a natural form) if needed to improve digestion.
- Yoga. Research suggests that 12 minutes of yoga every day
brings about a measurable reductions in inflammation - an issue in diabetic retinopathy.
- Avoid cortisone. This drug elevates blood sugar.
- Manage medications Limit medications you don't really need. Work closely with your doctor and don't change insulin or diabetes-related
medications without consulting your doctor.
However, only 6% of diabetics lose their vision. Blindness is largely preventable if patient and the medical team work together diligently. Prevention relies upon the proper use of medications, daily blood sugar testing, correct lifestyle habits, diet and supplementation.
Certain nutrients such as gymnema sylvestra, vandal sulfate, lutein, zeaxanthin, a number of vitamins & enzymes, and fish oil may help those with diabetic retinopathy and may help to preserve vision.
It is possible to have diabetic retinopathy for a long time before you realize it. In many cases, the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy are not apparent until the retina has been quite damaged and your sight has been compromised.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy and its complications may include:
- Blurry or distorted vision
- Difficulty reading
- Eye floaters
- Partial or total vision loss or what feels like a permanent shadow cast across your field of vision
- Eye pain
Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy
- Type I Diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes) develops when the body produces too little insulin. This condition generally starts in childhood.
- Type II Diabetes (Adult-Onset Diabetes) develop over many years, and is caused by the body either not producing enough insulin or not being able to utilize the insulin produced effectively.
- Low serum magnesium in diabetic patients is an risk factor for diabetic retinopathy. See the research.
- Laser Surgery is used to treat macula edema and proliferative retinopathy (advanced diabetic retinopathy). One type of laser treatment is "focal laser treatment", which seals the leaking vessels. Generally, laser surgery is used to stabilize vision, not necessarily to improve it.
The second type of laser surgery is "scatter laser treatment", used for proliferative retinopathy. This treatment shrinks the abnormal blood vessels. Often this can result in side vision loss.
- Vitrectomy is an eye operation performed if you have a lot of blood in the vitreous (back of the eye). It involves removing the cloudy vitreous and replacing it with a salt solution. Early vitrectomy is especially effective in people with insulin-dependent diabetes, who may be at a greater risk of blindness from a hemorrhage into the eye.