Diabetes and Eye Health
Whilst not everyone who has diabetes is likely to develop an eye condition, it is important to have regular eye tests and diabetic retinal screenings. This is because diabetes can affect vision in multiple ways, but it is reassuring to know that most diabetic problems that affect sight can be managed if treatment is undertaken early enough.
Regular sight tests and retinal screening can pick up any changes caused by diabetes, and early treatment administered at the right time can help prevent sight loss.
Eye conditions that can be caused by Diabetes:
Diabetes can lead your vision to become cloudy, causing cataracts in your eyes. This is a result of swelling of the fluid around the lens which is caused by high sugar levels. The lens will focus differently on the retina at the back of the eye, which may in turn cause your prescription to change as the cataract develops. People with diabetes are more likely to develop a cataract than people without diabetes.
The lens in your eye can be affected by changes in blood sugar levels caused by diabetes. This is more likely when your diabetes is not controlled. These changes in blood sugar levels can cause blurring in your vision, which can vary on a day to day basis, depending on your blood sugar levels.
Diabetes can cause some people to develop glaucoma, a condition that can damage the optic nerve. This is often a result of raised pressure inside the eye.
Diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy, a condition that affects the network of blood vessels supplying the retina at the back of the eye. Diabetes can cause the blood vessels to become blocked, to grow incorrectly or to leak, which can sometimes result in a loss of vision. The risk of developing this condition increases over time.
Symptoms to be aware of include:
- Vision which gradually worsens
- Sudden loss of vision
- Shapes floating in your field of vision
- Patchy or blurred vision
- Eye pain or redness
- Being overly sensitive to glare
- Difficulty seeing at night
If you notice any of these symptoms it is important to get them checked out immediately.
How to reduce the risk of developing retinopathy:
You can reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, or help prevent it getting worse, by:
- Controlling your blood sugar levels
- Controlling your blood measure
- Controlling your cholesterol levels
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Stopping smoking
- Taking medication as prescribed
- Regularly attending retinal screening
Contact your local KODAK Lens Optician today if you have questions or concerns, or to book yourself an eye test.