Eye care for diabetesThursday, 10 November 2016
People who live with diabetes are at higher risk of developing eye related conditions such as Diabetes Related Retinopathy, Macular Oedema, Cataracts and Glaucoma. Unfortunately many people don’t notice any changes in their vision until these conditions are well advanced and, if left untreated, can lead to poor vision and eventually blindness. The good news is that with regular eye checks and early treatment 98% of serious vision loss can be prevented.
If you do experience floaters, flashes, poor night vision, sensitivity to light or glare, halos around lights or you are having changes to your glasses prescription more often, your eyes should be checked by your Dr, Optometrist or your Ophthalmologist.
You might have noticed when you were newly diagnosed, when your diabetes isn’t well managed or your BGL is high, you get blurred vision. This blurriness usually goes away once your BGL is better managed, so a good point to remember is get your eyes checked for new glasses when your BGL is within the recommended range for you.
It is important to have your eyes examined when you are first diagnosed and then at least every 2 years or as recommended by your eye care professional. An eye examination involves having eye drops put into your eyes to dilate your pupils, then having photos taken of the backs of your eyes. This isn’t painful, just a bit uncomfortable for an hour or two until the drops wear off.
The best way to care for your eyes and help avoid diabetes related complications is to keep blood glucose levels and HbA1c as close to your targets as possible. Maintain good blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Have your kidneys checked as recommended by your team and discuss any results that aren’t in the recommended range. It the recommendation for everyone, whether you have diabetes or not, to make healthy lifestyle choices regarding food and exercise and if you smoke it is strongly encouraged that you to stop.
Treatment for eye disease is with laser, surgery and new treatments available. Eye complications can be successfully treated if detected early. Treatment cannot restore sight once it’s lost, but the progression of eye disease can be slowed down, therefore regular eye checks, early detection and treatments are essential.