Maintaining Your Eyesight With Diabetes

by Pen Byrd - Date: 2010-07-29 - Word Count: 442 Share This!

Diabetes is a common disease and has important implications for the short-term and long-term health of sufferers.

All patients with diabetes are at risk of developing sight problems, known as diabetic retinopathy. In the UK, this is one of the commonest causes of blindness in people between the ages of 30-65.Each year, 12% of people who are registered blind and partially sighted have diabetic eye disease. For this reason if you have diabetes it is vital to visit your optician at least once a year.

What is diabetic retinopathy?
The retina is a layer of delicate nerve tissue at the back of the eye that senses light. For sight to take place light must reach the retina. It passes first through the cornea and the lens at the front of the eye and then through the vitreous, the jelly-like substance in the middle of the eye. For the eye to see well, the retina has to function normally. If the retina is affected or light cannot reach the retina clearly, then poor vision is inevitable.

Diabetes can cause the tiny blood vessels in the retina to become leaky or blocked. If the vessels leak, the retina may swell up. Blocked vessels can result in the growth of fragile new vessels that may bleed and fill the eye with blood. This is called vitreous haemorrhage. It may also cause tractional retinal detachment, where the retina is pulled away from the sclera, or wall of the eye. Each can cause a loss of vision.

Can I prevent the development of retinopathy?
You can reduce the risk of visual loss from diabetic retinopathy by making sure that:
1. Blood sugar levels are well controlled with dietary restriction and/or medication.
2. Other medical problems like high blood pressure are monitored and controlled.
3. You are screened for accelerated retinopathy if you are pregnant.
4. If you are a diabetic who does not have retinopathy yet, you have an eye examination at least once a year with your diabetic specialist, doctor, ophthalmologist or optician.

Tight control of diabetes can reduce the risk of retinopathy by 60% in type I (insulin dependent) and 40% in type II (non-insulin dependent) diabetes.
Although the majority of people who have had diabetes for some time will have some degree of retinopathy, regular visits to the optician will enable early diagnosis and treatment.

When people first develop diabetic retinopathy they have no symptoms but if it is diagnosed at this stage it is a treatable condition.
Should you see blood in your vision, make sure not to bend your head in a position below your heart and avoid strenuous activity. You should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Related Tags: diabetes, diabetic retinopathy, optician, opticians

Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

© The article above is copyrighted by it's author. You're allowed to distribute this work according to the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license.

Recent articles in this category:

Most viewed articles in this category: