How can diabetes affect the eye?
Diabetes can affect the eye in a number of ways. The most serious eye condition associated with diabetes involves the retina, and, more specifically, the network of blood vessels lying within it. The name of this condition is diabetic retinopathy.
This is usually graded according to its severity. Background diabetic retinopathy is very common in people who have had diabetes for a long time. Your vision will be normal with no threat to your sight. At this stage the blood vessels in the retina are only very mildly affected.
With time, if the background diabetic retinopathy becomes more severe, the macula area may become involved, which is called Maculopathy. With this, your central vision will gradually get worse. It’s the main cause of loss of vision and may occur gradually but progressively.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy
As the eye condition progresses, blood vessels in the retina can become blocked, causing PDR. New blood vessels form, but unfortunately, they are weak and in the wrong place, growing on the surface of the retina and into the vitreous gel. As a result, these blood vessels can bleed very easily and cause scar tissue to form in the eye. Proliferative retinopathy is rarer than background retinopathy.
Most sight loss due to diabetes is preventable, so early diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy is vital.
What can we do?
Mr Puri says: “It’s essential to have regular eye examinations if you have diabetes. I need to see you every year – never wait until your vision has deteriorated to have an eye test. Our practice is accredited to undertake Digital Diabetic Retinopathy Eye Screening for patients registered with a GP in the Staffordshire Health Authority area. Just contact us to find out more, or make an appointment.”