Sunglasses and Why They are Essential

A good pair of sunglasses is just about as crucial as a blood-sugar monitor in your treatment plan. That may appear to be an exaggeration, but that...

A good pair of sunglasses is just about as crucial as a blood-sugar monitor in your treatment plan. That may appear to be an exaggeration, but that is the truth. For Americans under 65, poor blood sugar maintenance is the most severe threat to their vision, leading to cataracts, macular edema, and diabetic retinopathy. 

What makes these issues worse? 

What makes these issues worse is sunlight. UV light is harmful to many structures of the eye, including the cornea, lens, and retina. People with a blood sugar imbalance are more vulnerable since their ability to heal UV damage is impaired. That is where sunglasses come in handy, but let’s dive deeper into the topic.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a condition in which high blood glucose levels cause dysfunctional blood vessels inside the eye. About 10% of individuals with DR will experience diabetic macular edema (DME), swelling in the eye's macula that can cause central vision impairment if left untreated. 

Diabetic retinopathy is divided into two types: nonproliferative and proliferative. The most common type of retinopathy is nonproliferative, which causes capillaries at the base of the eye to enlarge. Injured blood vessels in the retina hemorrhage or block ultimately, resulting in retinal detachment in proliferative retinopathy.

Proliferative retinopathy is much less common than nonproliferative retinopathy, which is excellent news. Only a small percentage of nonproliferative patients evolve to proliferative status. However, when someone has nonproliferative retinopathy, symptoms are not always present, and the consequences of proliferative retinopathy may appear when it is too late to treat the illness.

What else is linked to DME progression?

We spoke with three leading ophthalmologists about the potential side effects of this dangerous eye problem. Possible complications can lead to:

  • Retina scarring 
  • Vision impairment
  • Blood vessel damage
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Increased risk of kidney disease

Why are glasses essential and how to pick the best pair? 

Sunglasses aren't just a fun summer accessory, they're also a necessity for good eye health. The right sunglasses can provide more than just a bit of shade; they can also protect you from the sun's damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. 

It is especially critical for people with imbalanced blood sugar because diabetes-related eye issues already put your eyes and vision in danger. Here's a list of things to think about while choosing your perfect pair:

Polycarbonate is the best lens material.

Polycarbonate plastic is lightweight and shatterproof, and it filters 100% of UVA and UVB rays without a need for additional coating. Even if you choose a different material, the most important thing is that your sunglasses are UV-protected. Always look for the label "UV400".

The color of the lens is entirely up to you.

Because the hazardous portion of the light spectrum is not visible, the color intensity of your lenses does not affect the level of protection your eyes receive. To put it another way, dark lenses do not block more UV light than lighter lenses. Darker lenses, on the other hand, cause the pupils to dilate, allowing more light to enter. That way, more UV light will enter the eye if the lenses do not provide UV protection and the comfort of the eye won’t be at a good level.

The bigger glasses the better

Wrap-around sunglasses provide the most comprehensive protection for the entire ocular area, including the lids, and are the best shape. However, due to the added curve of the lens, some prescription wrap-around enhance distortion.

The more UV protection provided by sunglasses, the less damage to the eyes is caused by the sun. Consider purchasing more oversized or wraparound-style glasses, which may decrease UV exposure from the side.

Lenses with Polarization

Polarized glasses don't block UV rays, but they do reduce glare, which is especially irritating for individuals with diabetic eye problems. Patients who have had laser therapy for diabetic retinopathy generally have a lot of trouble with glare, and polarized lenses can help them a lot. Anti-reflective coating and/or mirrored lenses are also available for added glare protection. The extra cost is worthwhile if you spend a lot of time outside or on the road.

What about Photochromic Lenses? 

Photochromic lenses which shift from clear inside to dark outside when exposed to sunshine may be entirely UV-protective. They may not be the best option for those who have cataracts or diabetic macular edema. 

Even when they are at their clearest, there is a tiny drop in light transmittance, which might make night driving difficult for those people. Furthermore, on a sunny day, the lenses do not darken as much because the windshield protects the majority of the UV radiation that causes them to change color. Discuss your alternatives with your doctor in case you're not certain if they're appropriate for you.

Tips for better eye health

As a result, it's critical to see your eye doctor on a regular basis to diagnose the issue early and maintain good eye health as you get older. Here are some helpful hints for maintaining eye health. 

Make sure you have regular eye exams

Because DME often has little or no symptoms, you may not realize something is wrong until you lose eyesight, but seeing your eye doctor for a comprehensive ophthalmic checkup once a year is crucial, especially if you're dealing with blood sugar fluctuations. Make sure you have regular eye exams and follow up with your ophthalmologist if you are being treated for diabetic-related eye disorders such as DME. Keeping an eye on things can help you maintain your vision sharp.

Make sure to regularly monitor your blood sugar 

Blood sugar, if not handled appropriately and monitored regularly, can damage blood vessels. Diabetic retinopathy is more likely to develop in people who have uncontrolled blood sugar levels, so keep track of yours.

Follow your healthcare provider's plan

Building solid connections with your health care provider and receiving the best possible care requires communication. Make sure to communicate changes and the path of your suggested plan. 

Eat a healthy diet

We've all heard it before: "You are what you eat." Healthy eyes begin with a healthy diet. Choose a well-balanced diet that contains meals that provide your body with good nutrients to protect your eyes. Vitamins A, C, E, Beta-Carotene, Lutein, Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and zeaxanthin are among them. Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, leafy greens, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel, nuts like walnuts and almonds, as well as beans, lentils, and mushrooms to achieve this.

Exercise

Regular exercise can help you control your blood sugar levels, lowering your chance of getting diabetic eye disease. So make a note of it on your weekly calendar to ensure that you make time for this life-enhancing appointment with yourself. Before beginning any exercise program, speak with your doctor to find out the activities they suggest for you.

Quit smoking

Smoking has been shown to speed up the development of diabetic retinopathy and impair blood sugar management.

Always wear UV- blocking sunglasses

Also, as the summer is approaching, UV-blocking sunglasses are non-negotiable.