Diabetes Awareness Week 2018
By support on June 14, 2018
Diabetes can affect your vision in a number of ways. The most serious condition is diabetic retinopathy.
Early diagnosis is vital. Most sight threatening diabetes can be managed if treatment is carried out early enough. We have the best equipment available to detect and monitor any changes to your eyes, our investment in OPTOMAP and OCT is the latest in optical technology and enables us to examine eyes like never before.
Almost 1 in 25 people in the UK has diabetes.
How can diabetes affect your vision?
It’s possible that your diabetes won’t cause any changes to your vision. However, diabetes can affect your eyes in a number of ways:
• The changes in blood sugar levels caused by diabetes can affect the lens inside your eye, especially when your diabetes isn’t controlled. These changes can result in your vision blurring, which can change from day to day, depending on your blood sugar levels.
• Diabetes can cause the lens in your eye to become cloudy. This condition is known as a cataract. This happens because the high sugar levels found in the fluid around the lens causes the lens to swell with more water than usual. The lens then focuses light differently on the retina at the back of the eye, and this may cause your spectacle prescription to change as your cataract develops. If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to develop a cataract, and at an earlier age too, when compared to people without diabetes.
• Some people with diabetes develop glaucoma, an eye condition that can cause damage to the optic nerve. This is often because of raised pressure inside the eye.
• When diabetes affects the network of blood vessels supplying the retina at the back of the eye, this is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes can cause the blood vessels to become blocked, to leak or to grow incorrectly. There are different types of diabetic retinopathy, and it can be worse for some people than for others, depending on the severity of the changes to the blood vessels.
Not everyone who has diabetes develops an eye condition.
If your diabetes is well controlled, you’re less likely to have problems, or they may be less serious. However, some people with diabetes do have serious sight loss because of their retinopathy.
Most of the eye problems caused by diabetes can be treated, but it is vital that these problems are picked up as soon as possible, as any treatment you’re given is more effective when given early.
This regular annual screening is essential as you may not be aware that there is anything wrong with your eyes until it’s too late. Screening helps to prevent blindness in the majority of the people at risk. If you’ve not had this type of test, ask your GP or diabetic clinic as soon as possible.
Your diabetic eye screening test doesn’t replace your regular eye examination with your optometrist. Some changes in your vision may simply be a problem that can be sorted out with glasses. The optometrist will check your glasses prescription and the health of your eyes. Some optometrists will take a photograph of the back of your eyes as part of your regular eye examination. However, this photograph does not replace your retinal screening appointment.
Important points to remember
• Always go to your annual diabetic eye screening appointment.
• Have regular eye examinations with your optometrist. If you have diabetes, you’ll receive eye examinations for free.
• Don’t wait until your vision has become worse to have an eye test.
• Early diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy is vital. Although your vision appears to be good, there may be changes in your eyes that need treating. Most sight loss from diabetes is preventable if treatment is given early. The earlier the treatment, the more effective it is.
• Speak to someone at your diabetic eye clinic or to your optometrist if you notice changes to your vision – it may not mean you have diabetic retinopathy. It may simply be a problem that can be corrected with glasses.
• Most sight-threatening diabetic problems can be managed by laser treatment if it is done early enough.
• Don’t be afraid to ask questions or say that you’re worried about your treatment.
• Good control of your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol reduces the risk of diabetes-related sight loss.
• Always go to your diabetic clinic or GP surgery for your diabetes health checks, where your blood pressure and cholesterol will be looked at.
• Smoking increases your risk of diabetes related sight loss. Your GP can tell you about NHS Stop Smoking services in your area.
Book online today to protect your vision or call in to speak to one of our team.
- source RNIB