The eye is the one organ that allows doctors to see directly into the brain — what they see happening in the tissues of the eye is probably happening in the brain as well. Doctors have wonderful tools for viewing and photographing the eyes and for treating any damage that occurs to them. What can you do to reduce the risk of eye damage (see Chapter 5) in your child?
1 Make sure that your child has yearly eye examinations from an eye doctor or optometrist beginning a few years after he develops his diabetes. Abnormalities can be spotted early, and treatment preserves vision. (See Chapter 7 for more about eye exams.)
1 Make sure that your child understands the connection between his blood glucose and his eyes. (In a nutshell, the higher the level of blood glucose, the greater likelihood of eye damage.) The Joslin Medalist Study of T1DM of extreme duration (see Chapter 17) shows that eye disease doesn't have to happen — even after 50 years of living with diabetes.
The picture used to be a lot bleaker because almost every patient with T1DM developed serious eye disease, and many went blind. Now, with careful monitoring of the blood glucose and the eyes, blindness need never occur. At worst, the patient may need treatment with laser therapy to the eyes, a very effective form of treatment that prevents blindness.
1 Make sure that your child takes care of his eyes and gets annual eye examinations as an adult. I want him to be able to continue to read my books far into the future!
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All you need is a proper diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and get plenty of exercise and you'll be fine. Ever heard those words from your doctor? If that's all heshe recommends then you're missing out an important ingredient for health that he's not telling you. Fact is that you can adhere to the strictest diet, watch everything you eat and get the exercise of amarathon runner and still come down with diabetic complications. Diet, exercise and standard drug treatments simply aren't enough to help keep your diabetes under control.