Most of our diabetic patients understand how their diet contributes to their blood glucose levels, but do not fully comprehend the role that nutrition can play in preventing diabetic retinopathy. Dr. Sean Lalin, Dr. Lee Angioletti, and the rest of our team at Retina & Eye Specialists of New Jersey can help you understand the importance of maintaining a healthy diet for diabetic retinopathy at our Morristown, Hackettstown, or Phillipsburg office location.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and would like to learn more about how a proper diet can reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, please contact our office to make an appointment with one of our doctors.
Understanding Diabetic Retinopathy
Elevated blood glucose levels can cause damage to the blood vessels throughout the body, especially the small and delicate vessels of the eye. When they become damaged due to chronic high blood sugar, the retinal blood vessels can leak blood and other fluids that can cause swelling and clouding of vision. As the condition advances, the retinal blood vessels can become blocked which limits the amount of oxygen reaching this light-sensitive tissue. This causes new, abnormal blood vessels to form in and around the eye that can leak or grow into the vitreous portion of the eye. The scar tissue that builds up from the new blood vessel formation can eventually lead to retinal detachment.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet
One of the most important steps you can take to maintain healthy blood sugar levels is to eat a healthy diet. We can help you find a nutritionist who can guide you on foods to include in your meal plans, based on your overall health and personal preferences. In general, it is a good idea to enjoy a balanced diet with small meals at consistent times throughout the day. This will help you maintain similar blood sugar levels at different times throughout the day, and from one day to the next.
A portion of your daily food intake should come from healthy, unsaturated fats like those found in nuts and avocados. You should avoid saturated fats like butter, lard, and shortening, and instead cook with olive or canola oil. Trimming any fat from lean meats is another easy way to minimize your consumption of unhealthy fats. Complex carbohydrates such as fruit, bread, and pasta should be spread out throughout the day to avoid any spikes in your blood sugar.
Your primary care physician has set up your medication schedule to coincide with the times of day that you will be eating to control any spikes in blood sugar, so it is important to inform them of any lifestyle changes that you will be making.
Schedule an Appointment to Learn More
Healthy lifestyle choices not only reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, they can also have a significant impact on your management of the condition. To learn more about protecting your eye health and vision, please contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.