Table Of Contents

Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness

Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness

What is diabetic eye disease?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye conditions that affects people who have diabetes. Diabetic eye disease may cause severe vision loss and even blindness. This can result in the following:

  • Cataracts- which is the clouding of the eye lens. Studies show that adults with diabetes are 5 times more likely to develop cataracts than those without diabetes.
  • Glaucoma- damage the eyes optic nerve head, often due to raised eye pressure.
  • Diabetic macular edema (DME)- this is a consequence of diabetic retinopathy which is the swelling in an area of the retina called the macula, which is responsible for central and colour vision. This can lead to an impaired ability to see certain colors.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy affects blood vessels in the light sensitive tissue of the eye called the retina. This may cause leaking of blood or protein from the tiny vessels in the back of the eye which is a common cause of loss of vision in people with diabetes and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness in adults.

Why is Diabetic eye disease awareness so important?

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and many people are asymptomatic during the early stages. Detecting it early, treating it timeously and monitoring it regularly is the only way to maintain good vision.

How often should diabetics have an eye exam?

Patients with diabetes require special care not only in managing their blood sugar levels, but to ensure that they receive holistic care to maintain a good quality of life. It is important to schedule a comprehensive eye test at least once a year to assess for potential eye complications like cataracts, optic nerve damage and macular swelling that can occur with diabetes. Your optometrist may ask to see you more often depending on the outcome of your eye exam.

A comprehensive eye exam will include checking for:

  • Swelling of the Macula
  • Changes to blood vessels
  • Leading blood vessels or warning signs of leaky blood vessels
  • Changes in the lens
  • Damaged nerve tissue
  • Referral to an ophthalmologist where necessary

Contact your local Optical Alliance Optometrist to book a comprehensive eye exam.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Make your vision and well being a priority.

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