When you're diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you're probably not thinking about how your sight could be affected. However, when your blood contains a high concentration of glucose, you can develop diabetic retinopathy, which is a serious complication of diabetes. The blood vessels in your retina are damaged by the glucose, and this affects your sight, as the retina is the part of your eye that receives images and sends them to your brain. Severe damage to the blood vessels of the retina can cause total loss of vision. Here's an overview of the signs of diabetic retinopathy and what can be done if you develop it:
Signs Of Diabetic Retinopathy
Early damage to your retina won't be apparent to you, but your optometrist will be able to identify blood vessel damage when you go for an eye test. As the condition progresses, there are some common warning signs most sufferers experience. You may notice increased sensitivity to light, and your night vision may become poor, which can make driving at night unsafe. Blurred vision and other visual disturbances, such as floaters and flashes, are common. Eye pain is also common, and this may be intensified when you've been focusing for a long period.
Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
If your optometrist thinks you have diabetic retinopathy, they will refer you to an ophthalmologist for further testing. A fluorescein angiogram, which is a form of diagnostic imaging, will be carried out to obtain images of the blood vessels in your retinas.
Once diabetic retinopathy is confirmed, the best step you can take for your eye health is to get your blood glucose level under control. This will prevent further damage to your sight, so work with your diabetic nurse specialist and dietician to establish where things are going wrong and make any necessary changes to your diet and medication regime.
Aside from controlling your blood glucose level, the only treatment option is laser therapy. This won't undo damage that's already done, but it will stop your sight being further impaired by sealing off damaged blood vessels. The procedure is carried out as a day case, and you should have an eye test shortly after treatment to establish if you need new glasses as a result of the damage that was caused before treatment.
If you're experiencing any of the signs of diabetic retinopathy, or if you're overdue an eye test, make an appointment with your optometrist as soon as possible to prevent unnecessary damage to your sight. For more information, contact an eye doctor.