DIABETIC RETINOPATHY

Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication which occurs as a result of diabetes. If the blood sugar levels are too high or uncontrolled, the blood vessels which supply the retina can be affected and in turn damage it. These vessels weaken and then swell, leak fluid or bleed and this often leads to vision changes or visual loss, usually affecting both eyes. If left untreated, severe diabetic retinopathy can result in blindness. The process can take place over a long time so it is vital to have your eyes tested at least once a year so that any changes can be monitored.

The compromised blood vessels can also cause damage to the body’s vital organs and increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and cause problems with the nerves, feet and gums.

In addition, to retinal changes, changes in blood sugar levels can affect the lens in the eye causing the vision to change and perhaps fluctuate. Uncontrolled diabetes can increase the risk of Glaucoma and Cataracts.

Symptoms:

  • Gradually worsening vision
  • Sudden vision loss
  • Floaters in your field of vision
  • Blurred or patchy vision
  • Dark or empty areas in your field of vision
  • Eye pain or redness
  • Impaired colour vision

Treatment:

  • Laser treatment to treat the growth of new blood vessels at the back of the eye
  • Eye injections to treat severe maculopathy if it is sight threatening
  • Eye surgery to remove blood or scar tissue from the eye. This is done when the retinopathy is so advanced that laser treatment is not possible

If you are diabetic, it is important to have your eyes tested regularly even if you are having regular screening appointments arranged by your GP. At Unia Opticians we are able to use retinal imaging and an OCT scanner to monitor changes on the retina. For further advice call us on 0207 222 0066 or email us at info@uniaopticians.co.uk