If you have diabetes you are at risk of vision loss from Diabetes Retinopathy (damage to the very small blood vessels on the back of the eye). However, good blood glucose levels and blood pressure and regular screening can greatly reduce the risk of complications.
Diabetes Retinopathy can occur regardless of the type of diabetes you have, your age, or even the control you have over your blood-glucose levels. For this reason, everyone who has diabetes should have their eyes checked regularly. Begin when diabetes is first diagnosed, and then at least every two years after that.
If the damage is detected before it has affected your sight, treatment can prevent vision loss. Where vision loss has already occurred, treatment can only stop it from getting worse.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
If you notice any changes in your vision contact your doctor. Some examples of symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy include:
- Blurred, distorted or patchy vision that can’t be corrected with prescription glasses
- Problems with balance, reading, watching television and recognising people
- Being overly sensitive to glare
- Difficulty seeing at night.
In the early stages of Diabetic Retinopathy there may be no symptoms and the disease may not be diagnosed until it is advanced.
Looking After Your Eyes
To look after your eyes and help prevent vision loss:
- Have your eyes checked regularly, at least every two years, to pick up early signs of damage
- Control your blood glucose levels.
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- If your vision has been affected, seek treatment from your doctor to stop it from getting worse.
Who Can Test Your Eyes?
Initially your doctor may test your eyes and if needed refer you to an optometrist or a specialist.