National Diabetes Week

Diabetes week is an annual week hosted by Diabetes UK that aims to raise awareness and understanding of diabetes. This year it takes place on 10th-16th June. To get involved and help people #SeeDiabetesDifferently, we’re devoting this post to the eye conditions that can develop from diabetes and what can be done to help or prevent them.

FACT: Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable sight loss in the UK.

Source: Diabetes UK

Diabetic Retinopathy is an eye disease that diabetics are at a higher risk of developing. This disease can cause the blood vessels in the retina to bleed, leak fluid or randomly grow. Put simply, the retina is the ‘seeing’ part of the eye. When the vessels supplying blood to this area are damaged and they can’t work correctly, the eye can’t see properly.

There are multiple different types and severities of diabetic retinopathy, but untreated, all can lead to permanent vision loss. This disease is very gradual, and it is unlikely that someone with diabetes will one day just wake up blind. However, because of this gradual build-up, diseases can often go unnoticed until it is potentially too late. Therefore it is vitally important that those with diabetes have annual comprehensive eye exams to keep an eye on any developments.

The good news is that early detection and timely treatment of diabetic-related eye diseases can protect against vision loss. Taking medications, as prescribed, alongside keeping physically active and a healthy diet can help delay or even prevent sight loss.

Diabetes can also cause Cataracts and Glaucoma. A cataract causes clouded vision and glaucoma the build-up of fluid in the eye. Both of these can eventually lead to vision loss if left untreated. Cataracts and glaucoma aren’t types of retinopathy, however they can be caused by high blood sugar levels.

The key thing to remember is that if found early enough, nearly all eye conditions can be treated.  So if you notice anything different with your vision and you have diabetes, it’s important that you make an urgent appointment to see your optometrist.  And, if you haven’t had a comprehensive eye exam in the past year, then please get in touch to make an appointment.  It is really important to have regular appointments to take care of your sight and prevent sight loss.