Diabetes - the quick fire facts


What is it?

A lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar to become too high

Type 1- body's immune system attacks and destroys cells that produce insulin

Type 2- where the body does not produce enough insulin or the body’s cells do not react to insulin. This type is the most common with 90% of adults with diabetes having type 2. (NHS website)


How does it affect my eyes?

Diabetes can weaken blood vessels. The back of our eye (the retina) has lots of very small vessels which may leak or become damaged due to diabetes.

If the blood vessels are damaged or leaking the retina may not get enough oxygen and will not be able to function properly and you may experience blurred or worsened vision as a result.

If the blood vessels at the back of the eye are affected by Diabetes this is known as Diabetic retinopathy- There are 3 main stages depending how severely the blood vessels are affected.

1 in 3 people with diabetes have some degree of Diabetic retinopathy (Sightsavers website)

Diabetes can also put you at higher risk of other eyesight problems such as

  • cataracts (where the lens inside the eye goes cloudy)
  • glaucoma (a disease which causes damage to the nerve at the back of the eye and can threaten eyesight)

What can I do to Minimise the risk of diabetic eye disease?

Keep blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol controlled- you are at higher risk if these are not controlled.

It is also important to attend your local optometry practice for routine eye exams as we can pick up changes early and refer to a local hospital to be monitored and treated if necessary.

Attend Diabetic retinal screening appointments.

What is diabetic Retinal screening?

Annual screening is offered to ALL people with diabetes aged 12 and over to pick up and treat any problems early on.

It is important to attend your local optometry practice also so we can monitor any changes in between screening appointments and we can check every other aspect of your eye health and not just the diabetes side!


If you feel your vision change do not hesitate to book an appointment with an optometrist early detection of diabetic eye disease could save your sight!








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