DIABETES AWARENESS

To start, Diabetes Awareness Week is from Monday 14 to Friday 18 June. It’s extremely important to spread awareness of regular eye examinations.

Retinas is the light-sensitive tissue that detects light and allows us to see. Usually, the retina is orange in colour and should be clear of any fluid or bleeding. Regular eye examinations are absolutely vital. This is because they can detect the early signs of diabetes. This involves examining the back of the eye, which is called the retina.

Have you had diabetes for a number of years? If you have not controlled your blood sugar level, there might be blood and fluid accumulated at the back of the eye. We call this proliferative diabetic retinopathy. This may sound worrying, but the good news is that controlling this situation is possible.

DIABETES REFERRAL

Normally, an urgent referral to the local diabetic clinic to an eye doctor would require some laser treatment. This will help to preserve your vision. This also prevents the situation from deteriorating. The laser will prevent any further damage, leakage and new blood vessels from forming, It will also prevent the retina from being detached.

Additionally, we can do an urgent referral to your GP so that they can prescribe you medication to help maintain your sugar level. They will then organize regular visits to the local diabetes retinal screening clinic to monitor changes in the back of the eye.

We advise diabetics to control their diet and exercise regularly. It is very important to take medication consistently to keep the blood sugar level in control.

As part of the eye examination, we would perform different tests including the use of drops to dilate the pupil (in order to get a clearer view of the retina), a photographic image of the retina and a 3D OCT scan.

This is something very close to my heart as my father was diabetic and sadly passed due to this.

HELPING YOURSELF

If YOU have diabetes, you’re probably aware that the disease can affect vision. But the connection between the two can be a bit, well, fuzzy.

Here’s how it goes: High glucose levels spur abnormal blood vessels in the eye—known as diabetic retinopathy (DR).

Untreated, about 10% of people with DR will develop diabetic macular edema (DME). This is swelling that can cause central vision loss in the eye’s macula.

If chronic retinal changes in the patient are left untreated, the vision loss they cause can be permanent.

Since DME often has no symptoms, you may not notice that anything is amiss until you start to lose vision. Seeing your optometrist once a year for a full ophthalmic exam (especially if you’re diabetic) is a must.

 

We hope you find this informative. If you would like some more information, please visit the NHS Website.

If you would like to book an appointment, make sure to contact us.