Diabetes & The Eye
Because it often lacks early symptoms, people with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, and causes damage to the blood vessels in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy, affects up to eight out of 10 patients who have had diabetes for 10 years or more and is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes, and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults.
In its early stages, it may not affect your vision, and you may not even be aware that you have it. That’s why it’s important to have regular check-ups from an eye specialist if you suffer from diabetes.
As diabetic retinopathy starts to affect your vision, you may notice you have difficulty with reading and close-up work. Floaters in your vision and double vision may also be symptoms, although they can have other causes too. In some cases, the condition may also lead to glaucoma.
The Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy
Non-proliferative: – The early or ‘non-proliferative’ stages are characterised by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, but your vision tends not to be affected.
Proliferative (PDR) – Once the disease reaches the more advanced ‘proliferative’ stage, abnormal and fragile blood vessels begin to grow on the retina which can lead to permanent loss of vision from bleeding into the eye, retinal scarring and retinal detachment.
Macular Oedema (DMO) – In this instance, the abnormal blood vessels leak fluid into the macula – the centre of the retina – causing blurred vision.
Vitreous Haemorrhage – Occurs when the normal blood vessels bleed into the vitreous ‘gel’ inside the eye and can also cause blurred vision.
Vision lost to diabetic retinopathy is sometimes irreversible. However, early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent. Because it often lacks early symptoms, people with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. People already diagnosed with the condition may need eye exams more frequently. Women with diabetes who become pregnant should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam as soon as possible as eye disease can get suddenly worse in pregnancy.
To find out more about this condition and how we can help please contact us.