Everyone with diabetes is at risk of losing vision. As diabetes becomes more prevalent so do associated complications like diabetic retinopathy.
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.
Diabetes may also cause conditions such as cataract, glaucoma, loss of focusing ability and double vision.
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.