Diabetes & the Eye
According to Diabetes UK, more people than ever have Diabetes.
Currently, more than 4.9 million people in the UK have diabetes, with many more living with Type 2 diabetes but are yet to be diagnosed. Diabetes seems to be on an upwards trajectory, and if nothing changes, Diabetes UK predicts that 5.5 million people will have diabetes in the UK by 2030.
Diabetes UK states: “Diabetes is one of the leading causes of preventable sight loss in the UK – More than 1,700 people have their sight seriously affected by their diabetes every each in the UK. That’s more than 30 people every week.”
The key thing to note is that it is often times preventable. When diagnosis is early, your diabetes is properly managed and you attend regular eye examinations, keeping your eyes healthy can prevent sight loss.
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. It causes 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. This causes damage to the retina, leading to vision impairment. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy. It tends to be a common complication of being a 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.
5 Steps to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease
Here are 5 practical steps you can take throughout the year to help protect your vision and prevent these conditions from stealing your view of your loved ones and the world around you:
1. Come in for a comprehensive eye examination once a year. Even if you haven’t noticed any problems with your vision.
2. Manage your blood sugar – Take medications as prescribed
3. Stay physically active
4. Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle
5. Stop smoking, as this plays a significant role in eye damage
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.