What you need to know about Diabetic Eye Disease

If you suffer from diabetes, you may experience issues with your vision as a symptom of your condition. Collectively, these eye problems are referred to as ‘Diabetic Eye Disease’. These issues are very common but not every diabetes patient will develop eye problems, so it’s important to be vigilant for any changes. Good opticians, such as David Paul Opticians in Berkhamsted, will help diagnose any problems and help prevent severe vision loss and blindness.

Common eye diseases linked to diabetes

The following are commonly linked to diabetes:

  • Glaucoma – If you suffer from diabetes, you are 50% more likely to get glaucoma. This disease is caused by an increase of fluid pressure within the eye. It can lead to optic nerve damage and loss of vision.
  • Cataracts – A clouding over of the lens, which affects vision. People with diabetes are likely to develop cataracts at an earlier age.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy - This disease causes damage to blood vessels in the retina, and is the number 1 cause of vision loss for working people in the U.K.

Diabetic retinopathy and its effects

Diabetic retinopathy affects between 40 – 45% of people with diabetes. It can affect people in a variety of ways, which include:

  • It can create ‘cotton wool spots’ when blood flow is restricted to areas of the retina.
  • Small bleeds can occur at the back of the eye, also known as retinal haemorrhages
  • The disease can cause a build up of fluid in your central vision, which is known as macular oedema
  • Can cause new blood vessels to develop, which try and improve blood flow at the back of the eye.

Usually when diabetic retinopathy first develops, you won’t notice any changes to your eyesight, but over time the disease will affect your vision so it’s important to get it treated as soon as possible to prevent loss of sight.

David Paul Opticians can carry out tests to check whether the disease is present.

How can you prevent Diabetic Retinopathy

Unfortunately you can’t completely prevent diabetic retinopathy from developing, but you can slow its progression. Here are some eye care tips to lower your risk of eye problems:

  • Pay attention to your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar – this will help protect your eyesight
  • Stay active, keep fit and in shape – a healthy body equals healthy eyesight
  • Quit smoking – the link between smoking and vision loss is the same as the link between smoking and lung cancer, quit now
  • Have regular eye check ups – the blood vessels in your eyes often show signs of change first, in fact diabetes is often discovered during an eye examination so be sure and attend regularly
  • Get retinal photography – In order to see the back of the eye, we use retinal photography for a clear picture. These are stored and changes to the eye year on year can be seen, thus helping to recognise problems

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

Any damage cannot be reversed, but there are ways to prevent any further changes to the back of your eye.

If you have diabetes, talk to David Paul Opticians about your eye care now on 01442 879 303. We’re located at 236 High Street, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 1AG so drop in any time to find a wide range of glasses and lenses and advice from our expert opticians.