3 Things to Tell Your Doctor About Your Diabetic Eye Disease

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portrait of smiling Caucasian female eye doctor at desk holding eye glasses and pen

Diabetic eye disease is an umbrella term for a group of eye problems known to affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma. Managing diabetic eye disease can be challenging, which is why it’s important to build a strong relationship with your ophthalmologist. At your next appointment, don’t forget to mention if you’re experiencing these three things:

1. Uncontrolled Symptoms

If not properly managed, diabetic eye disease can lead to partial or complete vision loss–but it doesn’t have to happen. Always tell your doctor if you’re experiencing diabetic eye disease symptoms, like blurred or wavy vision, problems seeing color, floaters in your field of sight, or flashes of light. If you do notice any of these symptoms, your doctor can determine next steps to get your diabetic eye disease better controlled.

2. Problems Adhering to Your Treatment Plan

Managing your diabetic eye disease means you must follow your doctor’s treatment plan and commit to taking medications as prescribed. Things can get complicated managing your regular diabetic medications, drugs for any other conditions, and now adding eye medications. Additionally, it can be challenging to keep taking your diabetic eye disease medications if you’re experiencing side effects or your treatment schedule doesn’t work with your lifestyle. If you aren’t able to stick to your treatment plan, there’s nothing to be ashamed about. Be honest with your doctor about why you’re having trouble so you can work together to find a solution, which might mean a different drug, dosing schedule, or lifestyle change.

3. Changes in Your Mood

Dealing with a chronic condition like diabetes can be hard enough; studies suggest about 30% of of people with diabetes have some form of depression. Adding diabetic eye disease to that can be tough, and it’s common for people to experience stress, anxiety, and depression as a result. Fortunately, there are effective resources available to help you cope with the emotional side effects of life with diabetes and diabetic eye disease, from medications to meditation. Don’t be afraid to tell your doctor how you’ve been feeling. He or she can guide you to find the appropriate support and better manage your mental health. Getting outside help to boost your emotional wellbeing doesn’t mean you’ve failed; it means you’re using all the tools in your toolbox to live a fulfilling and healthy life.

Living with diabetic eye disease can be difficult, but connecting with a doctor you trust can make all the difference. If you’re open and honest about what you’re experiencing, you’re on your way to staying in control of your condition.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Jan 8
  1. Diabetic Eye Disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/diabetic-eye-disease
  2. Depression and Diabetic Eye Diseases: We Can Break the Cycle. The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. https://www.iapb.org/news/depression-and-diabetic-eye-diseases-we-can-break-the-cycle/
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