Diabetes

Diabetes and vision

Cameron Optometry is accredited as specialist in the Edinburgh and Lothians for detecting and monitoring diabetes.

Diabetes and the retina

Diabetes patients are at risk of developing complications with their sight and eye health. The eye has a lens and an aperture (opening) at the front, which adjusts to bring objects into focus on the retina at the back of the eye. At the centre of the retina is the macula, which is a small area about the size of a pinhead. This is the most specialised part of the retina and it is vital because it enables you to see fine detail and read small print. Diabetes can affect the eye in a number of ways.

Blurred vision

Your vision may become blurred for a few days or weeks while your diabetes is first being controlled. This is due to the swelling of the lens of the eye and will soon clear without treatment soon after the diabetes is controlled.

Cataracts

Young people with diabetes very occasionally develop a special type of cataract. Older people with diabetes can be especially prone to developing cataracts. Cataracts can be successfully removed by surgery.

Diabetic retinopathy

The most serious diabetic eye condition involves the retina and is called diabetic retinopathy. It is very common in people who have had diabetes for a long time. There are two types of diabetic retinopathy which can damage your sight, maculopathy, when the blood vessels in the retina start to leak and proliferative diabetic retinopathy,when the blood vessels in the retina to become blocked. Without treatment, total loss of vision can occur in proliferative retinopathy.

Prevention

Although your vision may be good, changes can be taking place to your retina that need treatment and because most sight loss in diabetes is preventable:

  • Early diagnosis is vital
  • Have an eye examination every year and as soon as you notice any change in your vision
  • Do not wait until your vision has deteriorated to have an eye examination
  • Ensure you go to an optometrist or optician with specialist experience in treating patients with diabetes.