If you have diabetes it can cause complications that affect your vision. We refer to this group of problems as diabetic eye disease or diabetic retinopathy. This can cause significant and permanent vision loss. In fact, it is the leading cause of blindness in people aged 20 to 64.
Diabetes damages the small blood vessels throughout the body, including in the heart, kidneys and feet. In the eye, diabetes damages the retinal blood vessels, which can actually be seen during an eye examination. (The retina is the camera-film of the eye.)
The longer you have had diabetes or the poorer your blood sugar control has been, the more you are at risk of developing signs of damage in the eye through diabetic eye disease.
You can take some measures to help prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease. These include:
- good blood sugar control over the long term
- regular dilated eye examinations
- attention to other cardiovascular risk factors – blood pressure control, treatment for elevated cholesterol, weight loss for elevated BMI
- not smoking.
We have a range of therapies to treat diabetic eye disease. Treatment may involve retinal laser, anti-VEGF injections, vitreoretinal surgery or a combination of these. We will discuss the options with you and determine the most appropriate therapy for your eyes.