Everyone with diabetes is at risk of losing vision.
Early diagnosis and timely treatment of diabetic retinopathy can prevent sight impairment and blindness.
Diabetic eye disease is a much-feared complication of diabetes, consisting predominantly of diabetic retinopathy (DR), diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract and glaucoma, but also double vision and inability to focus. In most countries, DR is acknowledged to be one of the leading causes of blindness in the working age population with devastating personal and socioeconomic consequences, despite being potentially preventable and treatable.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs as a direct result of chronic hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose), causing damage to retinal capillaries, leading to capillary leakage and blockage. It may lead to loss of vision and eventually blindness.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss in working-age adults (20-65 years). Approximately one in three people with diabetes have diabetic retinopathy and one in ten will will develop a vision threatening form of the disease.
Managing diabetes goes a long way to managing diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes management includes controlling blood pressure, blood glucose and lipid levels. This can be achieved by encouraging a healthy lifestyle and medication as required. Improved control can slow the progession of eye disease, especially when initiated soon after diabetes is diagnosed.
IDF diabetes and eye health resources
Eye Health Guide
Integrated care for diabetes and eye health
Clinical Practice Recommendations for Managing DME