What is it?
Diabetes is not just a disease that affects your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can also change the shape of the lens in your eye, causing blurry vision. This problem eases when blood sugar levels are stable.
Diabetes can also cause vision loss by damaging the tiny blood vessels on the back of the eye. This is known as diabetic retinopathy. In the early stages you may have no symptoms. Symptoms may only appear when the disease is advanced. Cataracts are more common in people with diabetes and occur at a younger age.
Almost all vision loss from diabetes is preventable. That’s why eye screening is so important. It’s how you can check the health of your eyes at least every year.
What will my GP do now?
At the screening your GP may:
- Take (or request that an optometrist take) special pictures of the back of your eye (retinal photograph)
- Test your vision by having you read letters on a standard eye test chart
- Look for cataracts
If your GP detects any problems, they may refer you to a specialist or an optometrist. Your GP may want to see you every three to six months for ongoing monitoring.
What can I do?
Have your eyes checked regularly (at least every year) to pick up early signs of damage. Work with your GP to keep your blood glucose levels in your target range. Maintain a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.