Diabetic Retinopathy Screening

Diabetic retinopathy screening

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common eye complications of diabetes, making eye care for those with diabetes an everyday concern.

70% of people with diabetes will develop changes in their eyes within 15 years of diagnosis and the longer they have diabetes the more likely they are to develop diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most serious condition associated with diabetes. It is one of the leading causes of blindness and occurs when the tiny blood vessels of the retina are damaged by very high blood sugar levels.

People with diabetic retinopathy may notice no changes to their vision at first, but over time retinopathy can lead to blurred vision, glare sensitivity and difficulty seeing at night. The condition usually affects both eyes.

Watch the video below to learn more about the condition.

The screening for diabetic retinopathy is often done by taking digital photos of the retina with a specialised digital retinal camera. The photos are examined for signs of diabetic retinopathy. A decision is then made as to whether treatment or extra follow up examinations are required. Premium contact lenses that offer maximum comfort are recommended to temporarily manage the visual impairment after diagnosis.

Diabetic retinopathy is graded in three forms, according to its severity.

  • early stages, referred to as background diabetic retinopathy;
  • maculopathy, when the condition is beginning to affect the central vision;
  • proliferative diabetic retinopathy, which in severe cases can lead to blindness.

In time, diabetic retinopathy can lead to glaucoma or retinal detachment. Early intervention can prevent sight-threatening diabetic problems, so don’t delay. Contact an ophthalmologist now for an appointment to ensure your vision remains healthy.

In addition to regular eye examinations, people living with diabetes can also follow these simple guidelines to help protect their sight.

diabetic retinopathy prevention

  • Keep blood sugar levels under tight control. People who keep these levels closer to normal are less likely to develop retinopathy.
  • Control high blood pressure. Having hypertension can make eye problems worse. Ideally BP should be 130/80 or lower.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking is a high risk factor for developing macular degeneration.
  • Ensuring your eyes are examined regularly by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. This is to detect any changes occurring due to diabetes.
  • Wear quality contact lenses with high water content as prescribed by your doctor.

For more information on diabetic retinopathy, here is a link to an excellent webpage.

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