Diabetes and your vision

Post on 15th June 2015

Diabetes causes all sorts of medical complications, but the most common eye disease is diabetic retinopathy.

While treatable, diabetic retinopathy – damage to the back of the eye (retina) – can become particularly dangerous when left untreated, causing some loss of vision and in extreme cases, blindness.

That’s why Scrivens Opticians is highlighting the issue during Diabetes Week and encouraging people to have regular eye tests.

Scrivens Optometrist Paul Sidhu said: “A simple eye test can not only detect conditions such as diabetic retinopathy but also diabetes itself. That’s why having regular eye tests is essential – there is so much that can be done to treat the conditions if diagnosed in the early stages.”

According to the NHS, 1,280 new cases of blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy are reported each year in England alone, while a further 4,200 people in the country are thought to be at risk of retinopathy-related vision loss.

It is caused by prolonged high blood glucose levels. Over time, high sugar glucose levels can weaken and damage the small blood vessels within the retina, the part of the eye that sends messages about what we see to the brain.

Keeping blood glucose levels and blood pressure well controlled helps to lower the risk or slow the progression of the disease.

People with diabetes should be screened in the UK once each year for retinopathy. A photograph is taken of the eye which allows the specialists to spot any signs of damage that may be present.

Screening appointments mean that the signs can be spotted well in advance of symptoms developing. In the early stages of retinopathy, no treatment is needed but it’s recommended that patients keep good control of their blood sugar levels.

If retinopathy develops laser surgery may be needed. Laser targets the problem blood vessels to prevent them from leaking. Other treatments for advanced retinopathy can include injections or vitrectomy surgery.

To find your nearest Scrivens branch please visit our home page or to find out more about Diabetes Week www.diabetes.org.uk