What to know about computer vision syndrome

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is the term for a group of eye and vision-related problems that develop following the prolonged use of devices with digital screens.

Devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones put increased demands on a person’s visual system. Using these devices for extended periods without breaks can cause CVS symptoms, including eye strain and headaches.

In this article, we explain what CVS is and outline its causes and symptoms. We also provide tips on how to avoid CVS and when to see an optometrist.

What is it?

The extended use of devices with screens may lead to eye strain and headaches.
CVS describes a group of symptoms that occur following the prolonged use of devices with digital screens. Such devices include:

  • personal computers
  • laptops
  • tablets
  • smartphones

Common symptoms of CVS include eye strain and headaches. A person may also experience neck and shoulder pain as a result of sitting for long periods.

It is not clear how much time a person needs to spend looking at a digital screen to develop CVS. However, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA), longer periods of screen use seem to correlate with higher levels of discomfort.

Causes

Computer vision syndrome occurs as a result of prolonged digital screen use.

Digital screens cause a person’s eyes to work harder than normal. Several factors are responsible for this, including:

  • the screen content being less sharp or focused
  • poor contrast of the screen’s content against its background
  • reflections or glare bouncing off the screen

The following factors may also contribute to CVS:

  • viewing the screen in low light conditions
  • being too close to or too far from the screen
  • positioning the screen at an angle that causes eye strain
  • taking insufficient screen breaks

Together, these factors put greater demands on the eyes’ ability to track and focus. These demands are even higher for people who have minor uncorrected vision problems.

If the additional demands on the visual system occur over extended periods, a person may experience symptoms of CVS.

Symptoms

The symptoms of CVS may differ from one person to another. Some common symptoms include:

  • eye strain
  • dry and itchy eyes
  • blurry vision
  • double vision
  • difficulty focusing
  • nearsightedness, also called myopia
  • headaches
  • neck or shoulder pain and stiffness
  • backache

Treatment

The symptoms of CVS will usually go away after a sufficient break from screen use.

However, people who have underlying eye or vision problems will need to treat these problems to prevent future episodes of CVS. Some potential treatment options include those below.

Regular eye examinations

People who do not visit their optician regularly may have undiagnosed vision problems that worsen as a result of prolonged screen use. Others may be using outdated prescription glasses or lenses that are no longer effective in correcting their vision problems.

Regular visits to an optician can reduce the risk of CVS and other vision problems.

Vision therapy

Vision therapy is a form of therapy that aims to develop or improve a person’s vision. It involves the use of eye exercises to improve eye movement and focusing.

Vision therapy may be an option for people who continue to experience CVS and other vision problems despite wearing corrective glasses or contact lenses.

Laser eye surgery

Some people with underlying vision problems may be good candidates for laser eye surgery. This procedure uses lasers to reshape the surface of the eye so that it can focus more effectively.

Prevention

The best way to prevent CVS is to avoid long and uninterrupted periods of digital screen use. However, this is not an option for many people who work at a computer.

The AOA recommend following the 20-20-20 rule when working at a computer. Doing this involves taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to view something that is 20 feet away. Following the 20-20-20 rule can reduce eye strain from digital screen use.

Other tips for preventing the symptoms of CVS include:

  • positioning the screen at the optimal distance, which will be about 20–28 inches from the eyes
  • positioning the screen at a comfortable angle, with the center of the screen 15–20 degrees below eye level
  • ensuring that there is adequate lighting
  • using an antiglare screen or changing the angle of the screen to avoid glare from lighting
  • remembering to blink regularly enough to avoid eye dryness
  • wearing glasses or lenses to correct any underlying vision problems, where necessary
  • sitting comfortably with both feet flat on the floor and support in place for the arms while typing
  • taking regular rest breaks

When to see an optometrist

In many cases, the symptoms of CVS will go away once a person has spent sufficient time away from digital screens.

To prevent future episodes of CVS, a person should take steps to improve their work environment and adopt healthful screen-management habits.

A person should visit their optician if they continue to experience CVS symptoms despite making the necessary changes to their screen use. Persistent symptoms can sometimes be a sign of an underlying eye condition that requires appropriate treatment.

Summary

Computer vision syndrome describes a group of symptoms that can arise as a result of prolonged screen use. Common symptoms of CVS include eye strain and headaches.

CVS can affect anyone who looks at a computer, tablet, or smartphone screen for long periods without breaks. However, it is particularly prevalent among people who have underlying vision problems.

The symptoms of CVS tend to subside once a person has taken a sufficient break from viewing digital screens. People can prevent future episodes by creating a comfortable work environment and adopting habits to maintain good eye health. Following the 20-20-20 rule is an effective way to reduce the risk of eye strain.

 

Source:

www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/computer-vision-syndrome#summary

20/20/20 to prevent digital eye strain. (2016).
https://www.aoa.org/documents/infographics/SaveYourVisionMonth2016-1.pdf
Computer vision syndrome. (n.d.).
https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/protecting-your-vision/computer-vision-syndrome
Laser eye surgery and lens surgery. (2020).
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/laser-eye-surgery/
Loh, K. Y., & Redd, S. C. (2008). Understanding and preventing computer vision syndrome.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4170366/
Tran, K., & Ryce, A. (2018). Laser refractive surgery for vision correction: A review of clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532537/
Vision therapy. (2016).
https://aapos.org/glossary/vision-therapy


World’s first spherical artificial eye has 3D retina

 

An international team led by scientists at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has recently developed the world’s first 3D artificial eye with capabilities better than existing bionic eyes and in some cases, even exceed those of the human eyes, bringing vision to humanoid robots and new hope to patients with visual impairment.

Scientists have spent decades trying to replicate the structure and clarity of a biological eye, but vision provided by existing prosthetic eyes — largely in the form of spectacles attached with external cables, are still in poor resolution with 2D flat image sensors. The Electrochemical Eye (EC-Eye) developed at HKUST, however, not only replicates the structure of a natural eye for the first time, but may actually offer sharper vision than a human eye in the future, with extra functions such as the ability to detect infrared radiation in darkness.

The key feature allowing such breakthroughs is a 3D artificial retina — made of an array of nanowire light sensors which mimic the photoreceptors in human retinas. Developed by Prof. FAN Zhiyong and Dr. GU Leilei from the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering at HKUST, the team connected the nanowire light sensors to a bundle of liquid-metal wires serving as nerves behind the human-made hemispherical retina during the experiment, and successfully replicated the visual signal transmission to reflect what the eye sees onto the computer screen.

In the future, those nanowire light sensors could be directly connected to the nerves of the visually impaired patients. Unlike in a human eye where bundles of optic nerve fibers (for signal transmission) need to route through the retina via a pore — from the front side of the retina to the backside (thus creating a blind spot in human vision) before reaching the brain; the light sensors that now scatters across the entire human-made retina could each feed signals through its own liquid-metal wire at the back, thereby eliminating the blind spot issue as they do not have to route through a single spot.

Apart from that, as nanowires have even higher density than photoreceptors in human retina, the artificial retina can thus receive more light signals and potentially attain a higher image resolution than human retina — if the back contacts to individual nanowires are made in the future. With different materials used to boost the sensors’ sensitivity and spectral range, the artificial eye may also achieve other functions such as night vision.

“I have always been a big fan of science fiction, and I believe many technologies featured in stories such as those of intergalactic travel, will one day become reality. However, regardless of image resolution, angle of views or user-friendliness, the current bionic eyes are still of no match to their natural human counterpart. A new technology to address these problems is in urgent need, and it gives me a strong motivation to start this unconventional project,” said Prof. Fan, whose team has spent nine years to complete the current study from idea inception.

The team collaborated with the University of California, Berkeley on this project and their findings were recently published in the journal Nature.

“In the next step, we plan to further improve the performance, stability and biocompatibility of our device. For prosthesis application, we look forward to collaborating with medical research experts who have the relevant expertise on optometry and ocular prosthesis,” Prof. Fan added.

The working principle of the artificial eye involves an electrochemical process which is adopted from a type of solar cell. In principle, each photo sensor on the artificial retina can serve as a nanoscale solar cell. With further modification, the EC-Eye can be a self-powered image sensor, so there is no need for external power source nor circuitry when used for ocular prosthesis, which will be much more user-friendly as compared with the current technology.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Leilei Gu, Swapnadeep Poddar, Yuanjing Lin, Zhenghao Long, Daquan Zhang, Qianpeng Zhang, Lei Shu, Xiao Qiu, Matthew Kam, Ali Javey, Zhiyong Fan. A biomimetic eye with a hemispherical perovskite nanowire array retina. Nature, 2020; 581 (7808): 278 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2285-x

<www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200610102726.htm>


Optical Illusions

Optical Illusions can use color, light and patterns to create images that can be deceptive or misleading to our brains. The information gathered by the eye is processed by the brain, creating a perception that in reality, does not match the true image.

Here are a few of our favorites

The awkward dots

A simply brilliant image that plays real havoc with both your eyesight and your brain. This image was shared by Will Kerslake on Twitter with the caption “There are twelve black dots at the intersections in this image. Your brain won’t let you see them all at once.”

 

Confusing shadows

Another brilliant optical illusion created simply by the sun being at a specific place in the sky. This one seems to show oddities in the windows caused by their shadows which makes the building look like it belongs in Inception

 

The revolving snakes

This one is a simple trick of the eye. This is not an animated picture, it’s a static file that shows a mass of intertwined snakes. But if you stare at different sections you’ll see the snakes writhing and squirming

Source :

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.pocket-lint.com/apps/news/140473-best-internet-optical-illusions-you-won-t-believe-your-eyes.amphtml


Comparison of the Human Eye to a Camera

Comparison of the Human Eye to a Camera

The camera and the human eye have much more in common than just conceptual philosophy — the eye captures images similar to the way the camera does. The anatomy of the camera bears more similarities to a biological eyeball than many would imagine, including the lens-like cornea and the film-like retina. Similarities like these give the camera the appearance of a robotic eye. However, though there are many similarities between cameras and eyes, they are by no means identical.

Cornea and Lens

The cornea is the “cap” of the eye. This transparent (like clear jelly) structure sits to the front of the eye and has a spherical curvature. The lens of a camera is also transparent (glass) and sits at the front of the body. Like the cornea, the lens also maintains a spherical curvature. The corneal and lens curvature allows for the eye and camera to view, though not in focus, a limited area to both the right and the left. That is, without the curve, the eye and camera would see only what is directly in front of it.

Iris and Aperture

The aperture is to the camera as the iris is to the eye, and this reveals one of many similarities between cameras vs. eyes. The aperture size refers to how much light is let into the camera and will ultimately hit the sensor or film. As with the human eye, when the iris contracts itself, the pupil becomes smaller and the eye takes in less light. When the iris widens in darker situations, the pupil becomes larger, so it can take in more light. The same effect happens with the aperture; larger (lower) aperture values let in more light than a small (higher) aperture value. The lens opening is the pupil; the smaller the opening, the less light let in.

Focus in Eyes and Cameras

Both the eye and camera have the ability to focus on one single object and blur the rest, whether in the foreground (shallow depth of field) or off at a distance. Likewise, the eye can focus on a larger image, just as a camera (greater depth of field) can focus and capture a large scape.

Scope and Field of View

As the eye, the camera has a limited scope to take in what is around it. The curvature of the eye and the lens allow for both to take in what is not directly in front of it. However, the eye can only take in a fixed scope, while a camera’s scope can be changed by the focal length of different types of lenses.

Retina and Film

The retina sits at the back of the eye and collects the light reflected from the surrounding environment to form the image. The same task in the camera is performed either by film or sensors in digital cameras. This process underpins both how cameras work and how eyes work.

Source:

By Mallory Ferland

https://sciencing.com/comparison-human-eye-camera-6305474.html


Practice reopening 1st of June

We are pleased to inform you that we will be reopening the practice on the 1st of June 2020, by appointment only. For the foreseeable future, we will be operating a closed door policy to maintain social distancing. This is in line with current government and regulatory guidelines which we continue to monitor closely.

Our temporary opening hours will be Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10am to 3.30pm. Please call or email in advance before attending.

As we prepare to reopen, the health and well-being of our patients and staff remains our priority. Strict hygiene measures, social distancing and use of appropriate PPE will continue to be in place to ensure everyone’s safety.

If you have any queries, please email us at info@uniaopticians.co.uk. Please check our ‘News’ page for full details and further updates.

As always, we remain committed to providing our patients with excellent customer care and service and look forward to welcoming you back very soon.

 

 


National Eye Health Week

This week is National Eye Health Week.

We are raising awareness of the benefits of regular eye examinations.

Please copy and paste the link below to take part in the survey

http://www.visionmatters.org.uk/eye-health-questionnaire/eye-health-questionnaire

There are a million people in the UK currently living with ‘avoidable’ sight loss – leaving them unable to do things such as drive. Forecasters predict this figure could rise by a third by 2030, if action isn’t taken now[1].

Prevention and early diagnosis of common eye conditions are key to reducing the number of people suffering sight loss unnecessarily” explains David Cartwright Chairman of Eye Health UK “however, in towns and cities like Bristol, Liverpool, Luton and Manchester we are seeing a worrying number of people failing to take up their entitlement to free NHS sight tests and displaying high levels of smoking and obesity – two lifestyle factors linked to sight loss.”

Lifestyle habits impact your eye health regardless of your genetic predisposition.[2] Being physically active has been shown to reduce your risk of visual impairment by 58 per cent versus somebody with a sedentary lifestyle[3]; whilst a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30+ has been linked to the four most common causes of sight loss: macular disease, glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy.[4]

Research published in the British Medical Journal reveals as many as one in five cases of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the UK’s leading cause of blindness, are caused by tobacco consumption.[5] Making smoking directly responsible for around 120,000 cases of AMD in Britain today.[6]

Poor uptake of regular eye tests is another big risk to the nation’s eye health. Almost 14 million (13.8) of us fail to have our eyes checked once every two years, as recommended, and one in 10 of us have never had our eyes checked.[7]

Go to visionmatters.org for more information.


Top tips from National Eye Health Week

After the recent National Eye Health Week, we could all take something from these top tips.

If you are concerned about anything eye related, you should seek the advise of your Optometrist.


Eye health: Our top tips for healthy eyes

Eye health

Our top tips for healthy eyes

  • Have regular check-ups

Have your eyes tested every two years even if you think your vision is fine. An eye test can spot some eye conditions and other illnesses not related to sight. Regular check-ups are vital even if you have no symptoms.

  • Find out your family eye health history

Talk to your relatives about your family eye health history. Some eye conditions have genetic links which increase your risk of developing them. Share this information with your optometrist or eye health professional.

  • Take care of your contact lenses

If you wear contact lenses make sure you look after them properly. Thoroughly wash and dry your hands before touching your contact lenses or your eyes. Your lenses and their case should only ever be cleaned with the lens solution recommended by your optometrist. Always follow the instructions given to you by your optometrist or the lens manufacturer.

  • Wear sunglasses

Protect your eyes when it is sunny or when you’re in high glare areas such as near snow or water. The CE or BS EN 1836:2005 marks indicate that sunglasses provide a safe level of protection from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. Ongoing UV exposure can increase your risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration.

  • Protect your eyes

Wear safety glasses or protective goggles to protect your eyes from injury if you work with hazardous or airborne materials. This applies to home too if you are doing DIY, gardening or setting off fireworks.

  • Keep fit and healthy

Being fit and well can help your eyes stay healthy. Maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure may help with eye health. Protect your eyes when playing sports involving flying balls.

  • Eat well

Make sure your diet includes nutrients such as Omega 3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamins C and E. These may help to prevent or delay age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Recommended foods for general good health include green leafy vegetables, oily fish such as salmon and citrus fruits.

  • Stop smoking

Smoking is harmful to your eyes and can increase the risk of sight loss. Current smokers are 2-4 times more at risk of developing macular degeneration than people who have never smoked.

  • Avoid recreational drugs

There is evidence to suggest that some recreational drugs can cause sight loss – particularly alkyl nitrites, also known as poppers.

 

Facts about sight loss

  • Every 5 seconds someone in the world goes blind
  • Every day 100 people in the UK start to lose their sight
  • Almost 2 million people in the UK are living with significant sight loss. The number is predicted to rise to around 2.3 million by 2020 and almost 4 million by 2050
  • Around 360,000 people in the UK are registered blind or partially sighted
  • An estimated 25,000 children in Britain are blind or partially sighted
  • 86% of people in the UK value their sight above any other sense
  • Sight loss can affect people of any age but the likelihood increases as you get older: One in five people over 70 are living with sight loss
  • Black and Asian people are at greater risk of developing certain conditions which can result in the onset of some of the leading causes of sight loss

 


Researchers find children with ‘wobbly eye’ unable to recognise faces

Researchers in Southampton have discovered children who suffer from eye movement disorder nystagmus – known as ‘wobbly eye’ – struggle to recognise faces but not other objects.

It is hoped the novel finding, which was made following a study led by consultant paediatric ophthalmologist Jay Self and his team at Southampton Children’s Hospital, will lead to the development of more accurate diagnostic tests and better support for patients.

Nystagmus causes the eyes to ‘wobble’ and creates strobe vision, which makes it difficult to see moving objects, recognise familiar faces or perform everyday activities such as playing with toys and friends.

Although the condition, which affects around one in 1,500 people in the UK, can develop in later life, it is more commonly found in babies and young children – known as congenital nystagmus – and can be caused by many different underlying conditions.

The study, carried out by medical student Shinn Tan, in collaboration with the psychology team at the University of Southampton and clinicians in Cardiff and Plymouth, compared how children with and without nystagmus look at faces using an innovative infrared eye-tracking device.

Children were shown two different images on a computer screen at the same time while the Eyelink 1000 Plus analyser used infrared light reflected from the cornea of their eye to measure the time spent looking at each image.

When presented with a black and white checkerboard pattern and a plain grey panel, all children spent longer looking at the distinctive checkerboard and seemed to identify it very quickly – as expected by the clinicians.

However, when shown photos of their own mother’s face and that of another woman, children without nystagmus spent longer looking at their mother and found their face very quickly, while those with the condition looked at both faces for the same length of time and seemed to struggle to identify their own mother’s face.

“Nystagmus is an extremely complicated condition, therefore, testing and diagnosing it has proved very challenging, so we are constantly looking for ways to improve and enhance methods of diagnosis, as well as increase the support available to patients,” explained Mr Self, who is associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Southampton.

“These results indicate that children with nystagmus may have specific difficulty recognising faces or adopt different ways of looking at faces – something that’s rarely detected by standard eye tests.”

He added: “The findings could provide the basis of a more accurate diagnosis of nystagmus severity and measure of the efficacy of trial treatments, as well as improved social support and understanding for patients.”

The study was funded by the Nystagmus Network.


Blurry Vision and Diabetes what’s the connection

Blurry vision is being unable to see the fine details.

Blurred vision can be described as the lack of clarity or detail when viewing an object, similar to seeing things as if they are out-of-focus in a photograph.

The blurriness can be subtle or obvious, can change through the day, and can come on slowly or quickly. It depends on the cause.

Diabetes can cause blurry vision for a variety of reasons. Both short-term and long-term complications can affect the vision of someone with diabetes.

Contents of this article:

How does diabetes affect the eyes?

Long-term uncontrolled diabetes can lead to high blood sugar levels that cause damage to small blood vessels over time. This damage can lead to problems with part of the eye called the retina which can create blurred vision.

There are many reasons why diabetes might cause blurry vision.

Short-term blurriness in people with diabetes is due to a different cause. Fluid shifts into and out of the eye due to high blood sugar levels, causing the lens of the eye to swell.

This change in its shape causes blurriness as the lens is the part that focuses light onto the back of the eye. This short-term issue will resolve once blood sugar levels are lowered.

Can diabetes treatment cause blurriness?

Diabetes can also cause short-term blurriness if blood sugar levels fall too low (hypoglycemia). This can happen due to the timing of food or a change in activity levels in people who take medication that increases insulin in the body.

Rather than being caused by changes in the eye, blurriness from low blood sugars is caused by the effects of hypoglycemia on the brain. Vision affected in this way will return to normal after glucose levels return to normal.

Is blurry vision with diabetes temporary?

As stated above, blurry vision can be caused by both short-term and long-term complications of diabetes.

Long-term eye problems are related to blood vessel damage in the retina of one or both eyes due to high blood sugar levels over the course of many years.

These complications are not temporary, although their progression can be slowed down.

Short-term blurred vision due to high or low blood sugar levels is temporary and will resolve when blood sugar levels return to normal.

When should I see a doctor if I have blurry vision?

A range of medical conditions can cause blurry vision, and diabetes is just one.

Most people who begin to suffer with blurred vision may simply need eyesight correction with the help of an optometrist. However, anyone who develops blurry vision should see a doctor – especially if the problem has appeared suddenly.

Eye problems can be related to new cases of diabetes or can be a complication of an existing condition.

Whether diabetes has yet to be diagnosed or is already under medical care, symptoms of blurred vision should always be fully investigated.

Routine eye examinations should be carried out for all diabetic patients, at least once every year. Doing so will pick up any eye complications while they are still minor.

Regular diabetes eye checks

In addition to the annual eye examination with an optometrist, a detailed view of the retina is also necessary. This is usually carried out as part of a diabetic screening program through GP referral once the diabetes has been diagnosed. In most instances these checks are also annual, but may need to be carried out more frequently if the ophthalmologist/specialist feels that it is needed.

Diabetic screening involves the specialist looking at the back of the eye (the retina) after dilating the eye (making the pupil bigger with a drug delivered via eye drops) and is often referred to as the dilated eye exam. It enables the detection of diabetic retinopathy – disease of the retina caused by diabetes.

If diabetic eye problems are known to have developed already, multiple follow-up checks will be recommended to take place every year.

Pregnant women should also have more regular checks.

Long-term eye problems with diabetes

Eye complications caused by diabetes are progressive. They can start at a point where they are found only by a specialist eye examination, before any eye or visual symptoms appear.


Eye disease caused by diabetes gets worse over time without treatment.

Retinopathy has the potential to progress onto increasingly worse states. Broadly, there are two stages of this eye disease:

  • Background retinopathy, or non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) – early stages, with no symptoms, or only mild ones
  • Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) – advanced stages of eye complications

With NPDR, the retina’s tiny blood vessels may be weakened and blocked. There may be bulges in them, or fluid can leak out. This can cause swelling in the central part of the retina.

NPDR can be classed as mild, moderate, or severe based on the extent of the blood vessel problem.

Swelling in the retina is known as macula oedema. It can cause vision problems because the macula is located centrally at the back of the eye and allows fine detail to be resolved.

PDR, the more advanced stage of eye disease that can be caused by diabetes, results from blood vessel problems. Vessels fail to get blood to the retina because they have closed up, and new vessels start to grow to compensate for this. This stage only develops in some people with diabetes and takes several years to develop.

The growth of new blood vessels does not provide normal blood flow to the retina, however, and it can lead to scarring and wrinkling. If this is severe enough, vision can become distorted. The retina can even become detached, causing a loss of vision.

The fragile new vessels can also bleed out. Symptoms of this can include floating spots in the vision. If a bleed from the retina into the central part of the eye is substantial, sight can sometimes be lost, leaving only the ability to tell light from dark.

Eventually, new vessels can also start forming in the iris, the part that gives people their eye color. This affects the balance of fluid inside the eye. Glaucoma is the result – a build up of pressure in the eye that can affect the optic nerve.

Treatment of long-term eye problems with diabetes

The goal of regular eye checks for diabetic patients is to identify problems with the retina at the earliest stages. It is good news if diabetes is well-controlled and no changes to the back of the eye can be seen for a number of years.


Keeping blood sugar levels under control is important for treating eye problems caused by diabetes.

When it is found at its earliest stages, retinopathy can be managed with monitoring and controlling those things that can affect eye health, such as high blood sugar level and high blood pressure.

Preventive measures can then be started in time to slow down the condition. Otherwise, retinopathy is a progressive condition that worsens if blood sugar levels remain too high.

Problems with the retina can be prevented by bringing sugar levels under control. Keeping tight control of blood sugar levels also slows down any retinopathy that has already been found.

The diet and lifestyle measures that are needed to manage diabetes are the same measures that prevent eye problems. Any further medical help for diabetes also controls the risk for eye complications.

Good blood sugar control also helps to keep another risk factor for eye problems under control – high blood pressure (hypertension).

Preventing high blood sugar levels can have wider benefits against other diabetes complications, too. Diabetic neuropathy, which can cause loss of sensation throughout the body, is due to damage to nerves due to high blood sugar levels.

Prevention with regular checks and strict diabetes management is better than managing the complication once it occurs. But if retinopathy does reach the later stages of progression, specific eye treatments may be needed.

Eye doctors may recommend:

  • Injections in the eye
  • Laser surgery on the back of the eye – used to reduce swelling at the centre of the retina, to shrink or prevent abnormal blood vessel growth, and prevent bleeds
  • Microsurgery in the eye