Diabetes & the Eye
Several eye conditions can affect people with diabetes – such as:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Diabetic macular edema (DME)
Regular examination of your eyes by a skilled practitioner can detect the earliest signs of such problems, and can help avoid deterioration of vision and other complications for the future.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to properly regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. In the long term, poor control of diabetes can damage your eyes by causing changes to the network of blood vessels of the retina (the “seeing” part of the eye). The blood vessels become fragile and prone to becoming blocked, leaky or bleeding, causing damage to the retina, and leading to vision impairment. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy, and tends to be a common complication of being diabetic.
Retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults in the UK. As a consequence of diabetic retinopathy, swelling can take place, called diabetic macular edema. People with diabetes are also more prone to develop cataracts and glaucoma at an earlier age, contributing to a reduction in vision.
At Whitby & Co Opticians, our eye care professionals recommend that diabetic patients have annual eye examinations. All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause severe loss of sight and blindness, but regular follow-up and care can prevent this.
How to Protect Your Vision
- Controlling diabetes:
- Take medications as prescribed
- Stay physically active
- Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle
- Stop smoking, as this plays a significant role in eye damage
- Diabetic retinopathy often lacks early symptoms and may therefore go unnoticed until vision loss occurs. A yearly comprehensive eye examination is therefore crucial for early detection, and timely treatment with appropriate follow-up care of diabetic eye disease to protect against vision loss and blindness
- Women with diabetes who become pregnant should have a comprehensive, dilated eye examination as soon as possible
- Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with several therapies, used alone or in combination.
For eye problems needing more specialised medical help, a key part of our service is to offer fast-track access to our own network of consultant ophthalmologists, whenever needed.
Looking after your eyes
Whitby & Co. is an independent opticians in the heart of London. Established for over 20 years, high-quality eye care is our speciality.