World Diabetes Day occurs on November 14th every year and aims to raise awareness of diabetes. While many people are aware of how Diabetes affects your blood sugar levels and the sometimes tragic fate of your lower extremities, not as many people know how Diabetes affects your eyes.
So in support of World Diabetes Day we at Eyesite are here to tell you all about Diabetic Eye Disease, including its causes, symptoms and treatment.
How Diabetes Affects Your Eyes
Diabetes affects the eye in a number of ways. The most damaging condition occurs when the fine network of blood vessels in the retina – the light-sensitive inner lining of the back of the eye – leak fluid. This is known as diabetic retinopathy. Cataracts also develop earlier and progress more rapidly in people with diabetes. Untreated diabetes may also cause frequent or noticeable changes to your eyesight such as…
The early stages of diabetic retinopathy display no symptoms at all. Sadly, you only know you have diabetic eye disease when it starts to affect your vision.
Early signs of diabetic retinopathy include seeing floating spots and experiencing blurred vision. The spots are caused by bleeding from retinal blood vessels.
How To Prevent Diabetic Eye Problems
You can go permanently blind due to diabetic retinopathy, but early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of permanent blindness by 95%.
Because of the lack of symptoms, it’s important to visit your optometrist and to catch the early signs of vision changes.
If you already suffer from diabetes, managing your condition will help offset the effects of diabetic eye disease. Control your blood glucose level and blood pressure, keep fit and eat healthy.
What Type Of Diabetes Affects Your Vision?
You are vulnerable to diabetic retinopathy whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. The more severe your condition, the more vulnerable you are t diabetic eye disease.
Treatments For Diabetic Eye Disease
Most sight-threatening diabetic problems can be prevented by laser treatment if carried out early enough. It is important to understand, however, that laser treatment aims to save the sight you have, not to make it better.
The laser is focused with extreme precision and is used to seal the blood vessels that are leaking fluid into the retina. If new blood vessels grow, more extensive laser treatment may be needed.
I Get An Eye Test For Free From The NHS Do I Still Need An Eye Test?
Diabetics are entitled to a free eye examination provided by the NHS. However, they are primarily testing to see how severe your diabetes is, not how bad your eyesight is.
Expert optometrists are dedicated to treating your eyes and managing your eye care. For further information, take a look at our Eye Examination Services page.