As part of our ‘in focus’ series, we’re going to explore another common eye condition, diabetic retinopathy.
Did you know that diabetic retinopathy can affect anyone who has type 1 or 2 diabetes?
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eye.
It can affect anyone who has diabetes, whether they’re being treated with insulin, tablets or diet only. It’s the most common form of diabetic eye disease.
The condition occurs when blood pressure and blood sugar levels are always high.
This can cause a blockage, leakage or haphazardous growth of small blood vessels in the retina.
Damage to these blood vessels can affect how your retina receives what you see.
How does the condition affect vision?
The damage to the blood vessels in the retina can cause black spots or gaps in your vision.
As the condition progresses, it can become difficult to carry out daily activities and it may even reduce a person’s independence.
However, it’s possible to maintain your vision with good eye care and
If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated it can cause permanent damage to your vision.
Unfortunately, diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common causes of sight loss as there aren’t any obvious symptoms until the condition advances.
Reduce your risk of diabetic retinopathy
You can help reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy whether or not you have diabetes.
We advise making a few lifestyle changes as well as caring for your eyes between your regular sight tests (or diabetic screening).
By taking care of your general health, you can help to control your diabetes or reduce your risk of developing it.
It’s as simple as having a healthy, balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.
You can also further benefit your health by keeping your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control.
These lifestyle changes can be beneficial for everyone.
Naturally, by reducing the risk of diabetes, it also decreases the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
Diagnosing the condition
If you have diabetes, it’s crucial to attend your diabetic screening as the earlier the condition it caught, the more effective the treatment.
However, it’s important to also continue attending your regular sight test to monitor your eye health and prescription.
If you’re concerned about your vision, make an appointment with your local optician.