Diabetes and your eyes
An essential guide
Diabetes is a common, life-long condition affecting nearly 3 million people in the UK. Diabetes can lead to certain eye disorders, which can have an effect on vision. Regular eye testing (every year), with detailed examination of the eyes, is recommended for all diabetic patients.
Being diabetic can make you more at risk of certain common eye conditions such as dry eyes, cataracts and glaucoma. These can also occur at an earlier age than normal.
Diabetic Retinopathy is damage to the retina (the sensitive nerve layer at the back of the eye) due to diabetes. It is a complication that can affect any diabetic patient. The retina is covered in fine blood vessels. In diabetic retinopathy these can leak, causing damage.
Diabetics should have their eyes examined every year. At your eye examination, your optometrist will examine the back of your eyes (they may use dilating eye drops to help with this) and also take photographs to provide a record for future reference.
If significant diabetic retinopathy is noted, you may be referred to see an ophthalmologist. In some cases the progression of diabetic retinopathy can be slowed by using laser treatment. If you are at all concerned, you should book an appointment to see your optometrist.