Diabetes And The Effect On Your Eyesight

In the run up to World Diabetes Day on November 14th, for our latest blog, we are delving into the effects of diabetes on your vision. It’s a condition that can lead to vision loss and, in the most extreme circumstances, blindness. In the UK, diabetes is the leading cause of preventable sight loss.

So, what is diabetes? It is a chronic disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. There are three types of diabetes: type 1, where the immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. Type 2, which is when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or the body’s cells do not react to insulin properly. And lastly, gestational diabetes. In cases of gestational diabetes, the body has high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. In this instance, the condition usually reverts to normal after giving birth.

Type two diabetes: the most common type of diabetes

The most common type of diabetes is type 2. Some 4.3 million people now live with this diagnosed condition in the UK. And more than 2.4 million are considered at risk of developing diabetes, with these figures increasing year on year. It is also estimated that there is about 850,000 people living with the condition but have not had a diagnosis.

There are many risk factors which can lead to type 2 diabetes, including a history of diabetes in the family, being overweight, and ethnicity can be a factor too. There is no cure for diabetes, but the condition can go into remission and be managed by losing weight and controlling your diet.


Common signs of diabetes

There are some common signs that you may possibly have diabetes. These include feeling more tired than usual, constantly feeling thirsty, wanting to urinate more frequently, especially during the night and losing weight without actively trying to. If you experience these symptoms, you should make an appointment to see your medical practitioner.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is vital to have a comprehensive eye examination every year. Because diabetes is the most common cause of blindness in working-age adults in the UK, the cost of an eye test for patients with diabetes is covered in full by the NHS.

Some people with diabetes can develop an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. The condition occurs when high blood sugar damages blood vessels within the retina, a light-sensitive layer of cells in the back of the eye. The damaged blood cells swell and leak, which can cause blurry vision and may eventually lead to blindness.


Managing diabetes

It is possible to manage your blood sugar levels and reduce the amount of medication you take. Controlling your diet and achieving weight loss can help to reduce the risk of complications associated with this condition. It’s even possible to reverse diabetes and reduce the risk of it reoccurring in the future. This approach is not permanent or guaranteed, so in some cases, people manage the condition by administering insulin and other medications to help control blood sugar levels. Diabetic retinopathy can be a serious and complicated condition. But it can also be successfully treated if found quickly at an early stage of its development.

At Respectacle Company, we offer a comprehensive eye examination which includes screening tests for diabetic retinopathy. We also provide Optical Coherence Tomography, a 3D scan through the layers of your eye, which can detect conditions in the very early stages of their development. There is an additional charge for an OCT scan, but considering how precious your eyesight is, it’s well worth the cost.


To find out more about OCT scans or to book an appointment, pop into the store on Manor Walk. If you would like some more information about our eye examinations and OCT services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You can contact us on 01858 433 577.

Further reading:

Advanced eye test using Optical Coherence Tomography

What to expect during your eye examination

How often should I have my eyes examined?