Diabetes and your eyes

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin or the body is unable to process it properly. Insulin is the hormone that regulates the level of sugar in the blood. Diabetes can affect children and adults.


How does diabetes affect the retina
Patients with diabetes are more likely to develop eye problems such as Cataracts and Glaucoma, but the disease’s affect on the retina is the main threat to vision. Most patients develop diabetic changes in the retina after approximately 20 years. Effect of diabetes on the eye is known as diabetic retinopathy.


Over time, diabetes affects the circulatory system of the retina. Earliest phase of the disease is known as background Diabetic Retinopathy. In this phase, arteries in the retina become weakened and leak, forming small, dot like haemorrhages.


Next stage is known as Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy. New fragile vessels develop as the circulatory system attempts to maintain adequate oxygen levels within the retina. This is known as Neovascularisation. Unfortunately, these delicate vessels haemorrhage easily. Blood may leak into the retina and vitreous causing spots or floaters, along with decreased vision.


In the later phases of the disease, continued abnormal vessel growth and scar tissue may cause serious problems such as retinal detachment and glaucoma.


Signs and symptoms
Affects of Diabetic Retinopathy on vision varies widely, depending on the stage of the disease.


Symptoms include:

  • Floaters and Flashes
    Sudden loss of vision
    Blurred vision
    Blind spots
    Distortion of vision


Ophthalmic Care Opticians
753 Alum Rock Road Birmingham
West Midlands B8 3PX

Telephone: 0121 327 2378
Email: info@ocopticians.com

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