What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is retinopathy (damage to the retina) caused by complications of diabetes, which if left undetected and untreated, can cause serious eye damage including blurred vision and even blindness.
The retina is the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye which enables us to see. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when elevated blood glucose levels damage the small blood vessels of the retina, causing them to weaken and become more susceptible to blockages. This can lead to blood leakage, swelling and reduced oxygen supply in the retina.
People with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age and are twice as likely to develop glaucoma as are non-diabetics. However, the most significant threat is the disease’s effect on the retina.
Who is at risk?
- People who have had diabetes for many years
- People with poorly controlled diabetes (high blood sugars)
- Diabetics with high blood pressure, high blood fats and kidney complications
- Pregnant diabetics; an eye examination is recommended in the first trimester
What are some common symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?
In its early stages, you can have diabetic retinopathy and be completely unaware. As it worsens, you might notice blurred vision, sensitivity to light, distorted vision, poor night vision, dim vision, loss of vision, and floating spots in your vision.
Can eye complications due to diabetes be treated?
At present there is no cure for diabetes, but early detection and optimal management can prevent up to 98% of vision loss*.
3 ways to reduce your risk
Adopting a healthy lifestyle and keeping on top of your eye health with regular eye examinations can reduce the risk by up to 58% for people living with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.*
- See your optometrist regularly to monitor the health of your eyes
- Maintain healthy blood sugar levels
- Adopt a healthy diet
Book your eye test today
Given that early warning signs are not noticeable, early detection is especially vital when it comes to the prevention of vision loss as a result of diabetic retinopathy. Having your eyes examined regularly by the same optometrist means even the smallest change in your vision can be detected.