Did you know that a concerning vision problem stems from diabetes and that paying attention to key nutrients can help reduce your risk?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that affects how your body turns the food you eat into energy. Much of what we eat is broken down into sugar (aka glucose). Glucose enters our bloodstream and signals our pancreas to release insulin.

Insulin is like a magic key that lets glucose into your cells to make energy. Having diabetes ruins this important process in your body. Either you don’t make enough insulin or what you do make doesn’t work so great.

Chemical Diagram

Stemming from diabetes is a concerning secondary condition that involves your vision. Diabetic Retinopathy is a sight-threatening problem that’s on the rise and causes numerous visual impairments. But don’t worry, you have a skilled and caring eye doctor nearby.

At Integrative Vision, we want to educate you on nutritional ways to support your health as a diabetic — and ultimately protect your eyesight. When you support your blood sugar levels through the foods and supplements you consume, you’re giving your body what it needs to function at its best.

If you want to read more about the basics of diabetic retinopathy click here.

Today we’re covering how one important medical study shows the value of nutritional supplements for people with diabetes. If that’s you or a loved one, stick around for a few examples of good nutrients for blood sugar numbers and learn how Integrative Vision supports taking control of diabetic eye health.

Zoomed in image of eye from diagnostic test

Groundbreaking Study Establishes the Importance of Nutrients for Diabetics

The Diabetes Visual Function Supplement Study (DiVFuSS) — published in 2015 is the largest study to date looking at how nutrition improves the visual function of people with diabetes. It’s known that diabetics suffer from visual impairments including contrast issues, problems with visual field (peripheral vision), and color sensitivity.

Numerous other medical studies have shown how vitamins and nutrients can slow the progression of eye diseases, like macular degeneration. It only makes sense that the eye care world has started looking at nutritional ways to promote healthy eyesight for people living with diabetes.

The DiVFuSS study includes the following nutritional supplementation:

  • Vitamin C, D3, and E (d-α tocopherol)
  • Zinc oxide
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid
  • Docosahexaenoic Acid
  • α-lipoic Acid (racemic mixture)
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Mixed Tocotrienols/Tocopherols
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Lutein
  • Benfotiamine
  • N-acetyl Cysteine
  • Grape Seed Extract
  • Resveratrol
  • Turmeric Root Extract
  • Green Tea Leaf
  • Pycnogenol

(Quite a list, we know.) Split into two groups, some diabetic patients received nutritional supplements for 6 months while other participants received a placebo instead.

The result? Significant improvement in visual function for the people taking nutritional supplements!

This confirms that key vitamins and nutrients help support your blood sugar levels, which sustain your eye health. Let’s take a look at 2 vitamins from that list and how they aid your cells when you have diabetes.

Vitamin C

In ascorbic acid (AA) form, this powerful antioxidant protects the body from free radicals and helps reduce blood sugar levels. AA was specifically shown to improve blood sugar numbers after meals.

Vitamin D3

This particular vitamin aids our body in the growth and maintenance of our skeleton, cardiovascular health, and immune system. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to type 2 diabetes. It’s used by more than 200 genes to improve metabolism, which helps your blood sugar levels.

When our body has what it needs to work optimally, our overall health improves. This doesn’t just mean your eye health: improving and maintaining stable blood sugars with a healthy diet is key for your entire body’s performance.

Another Valuable Nutrient We Know Plays a Role in Your Blood Sugar Numbers

The DiVFuSS study provides great insight that our bodies need certain supplements to function. On a cellular level, they provide the “gas,” if you will. They keep the tank full and your metabolism working, so you keep going about your day!

There are numerous other nutrients that we know benefit eye health too. We’re going to talk about one of our favorites when it comes to diabetic nutrition. Omega 3’s help with insulin sensitivity.

If you read our dry eye blog then you know how much we love Omega-3’s. This essential fatty acid (EFA) is unique because it needs to be consumed through our diet since we don’t make it in our bodies. Omega-3 helps with insulin sensitivity.

Fish oil supplements

Similar to vitamins C and D  in the DiVFuSS study, EFA’s help your cells respond to changes in blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar is on the rise, it’s time for insulin to kick in. When your cells have the nutrients they need, they deliver the message better. This equals longer, more stable blood sugars (the diabetic’s dream!).

How Integrative Vision Supports Your Diabetic Eye Health With Nutrition

Our pioneering optometrist in functional medicine, Dr. Nedia Gioia, founded Integrative Vision after practicing in eye care for over 15 years. She prides her unique optometry practice, located in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, on educating her patients on the advantages of a healthy lifestyle.

Don’t worry, you’ll still get a complete and thorough eye exam with us. No missing out on everyone’s favorite “1 or 2” game or having machines near your eyes.

But you’ll experience even more!

Our Eye Exam Plus™ offers an added one-on-one nutritional consultation with Dr. Gioa.  We know how important personalized care is, especially when you or your loved ones live with a condition like diabetes. You’ll receive a courtesy antioxidant screening to give her vital information on your specific nutritional needs and get tailored recommendations.

We plan to keep spreading awareness on the value of nutrition for your eye health. We’re working on something big — stay turned for our SEE Health Program coming soon!

When you’re ready to take your health and eye care to the next level, Integrative Vision is ready for you.  We know having diabetes is no small task and we’re here to support your vision goals. We’ll provide all your eye care needs and more at Integrative Vision!