Eye and Dental Care
Possible eye complications (diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataract) associated with diabetes often have NO symptoms in the early, most treatable stages. Therefore, you should have a comprehensive eye examination every year from an eye doctor (optometrist or ophthalmologist), even if you don't notice anything wrong.
A comprehensive eye exam will usually include eye drops that allow your eye doctor to see the blood vessels in your eyes more clearly. In addition you should visit your eye doctor at the first signs of any of the following:
- blurred or double vision
- feeling pressure or pain in the eyes
- seeing dark spots
- unusual difficulty seeing in dim light
- narrowed field of vision
To further reduce your risk of eye complications, you should be sure your blood pressure and blood sugar (glucose) are being managed and avoid smoking.
High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) increases your risk for tooth and gum complications. To help prevent these complications, you should:
- Brush and floss every day.
- See your dentist at least every 6 months.
- Tell your dentist you have diabetes.
Sick days: special information
- Always take your insulin or diabetes pills.
- Test your blood sugar as directed by your healthcare team (which may be as often as every 2-3 hours).
- Test your urine for ketones as directed by your healthcare team (which may be as often as every 4 hours).
- Follow your meal plan if you can eat. If you can't eat, you should drink lots of clear liquids—no caffeine.
Call your doctor when:
- You are vomiting and unable to keep down foods, liquids, or diabetes pills.
- Your illness lasts longer than 24 hours.
- Ketones are present in your urine.
- All blood sugars are considerably over target range for more than one day.
When the above symptoms occur, insist on speaking to your doctor or nurse to let them know something is wrong.