Diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy, an eye disease in which the blood vessels in the eye are damaged by high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure. The damaged blood vessels may become leaky; which means the blood flow to the important cells in the retina is interfered with. if left untreated, this will damage your eye sight.
There are different stages of Diabetic retinopathy:
People with diabetes are also at higher risk of developing both cataracts (and glaucoma); the problems are again caused by high blood sugar levels. Cataracts cause your eye to become cloudy. Glaucoma leads to damage to the retinal nerves which pass through the retina at the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, which can lead to loss of vision; this happens due to poor circulatory supply to these vital retinal cells. Although glaucoma can’t be cured, if diagnosed early, we can try to control the speed at which it will ultimately affect your vision.
Early detection of retinopathy and glaucoma can mean the difference between saving or losing your eyesight. With the right eye-health screening, we can also pick up the early warning signs of diabetes, before you are even aware that you may have the condition, which can help you make the lifestyle changes necessary to manage or even reverse the disease.
That’s why at Kings Hill Opticians we invest in state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, so we can identify any changes in your eye health as early as possible.
The link between diabetes and eyesight is such that everyone with diabetes over the age of 12 is entitled to an NHS eye screening (or retinal screening) once a year. It’s really important that you don’t miss this as any changes in your eye sight can be picked up early to make sure you get the right treatment.
Even if you don’t have diabetes, regular eye checks can help detect any changes in your eye health that could indicate an underlying serious condition, such as diabetes, so we recommend everyone has an eye test every two years, regardless of whether or not you notice any changes in your eyesight yourself.
Managing your blood sugar levels will reduce the risk of diabetic complications with your eye sight. High blood pressure and high cholesterol (fat in your blood) also increase the chances of diabetic complications, so it’s important to keep on top of them. Diabetes UK has lots of advice on how to manage your diabetes so you enjoy the best possible health, including your eye health.
It is possible to live well with diabetes, but you need to take extra care of your health, espcially your eye health.
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