Diabetes causes damage to the eyes because the raised glucose levels in the blood damages the blood vessel walls and allows blood to leak in to the delicate retinal tissue. At first there may be no noticeable changes to your vision. Buchanan Optometrists Christchurch have the professional knowledge and equipment to provide high-quality comprehensive monitoring of your eye health.
Retinal image of advanced diabetic eye disease
There are a number of methods to reduce the leaking blood vessels, but for good success early detection is important.
Diabetic eye disease does not have any pain associated with it and in its early stages will only be able to be detected by an optometrist or eye specialist. Buchanan Optometrists uses a Zeiss retinal camera and Zeiss OCT which can accurately detect any changes to the retinal health.
A recent study from Indiana University found the blood vessel damage occurs very early on - " we had not expected to see such striking changes to the retinas at such early stages...There was damage spread widely across the retina, including changes to blood vessels that were not thought to occur until the more advance disease states".
Annual Eye Examination
We advise that diabetic patients should have an annual eye examination with an optometrist, which is in keeping with international standards of diabetic eye care.
Over time the retinopathy can get worse and eventually cause vision loss or blindness if left untreated
Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy
1. Mild Non-Proliferative Retinopathy
- microaneurysms develop, which are small areas of balloon-like swelling in the tiny blood vessels of the retina
2. Moderate Non-Proliferative Retinopathy
- as the disease progresses, some vessels that supply blood to the retina can leak fluid or become blocked
3. Severe Non-Proliferative Retinopathy
- many more blood vessels leak fluid and become blocked. Consequently several areas of the retina do not get enough blood supply. This causes signals to be sent prompting new blood vessels to be grown in order to maintain nourishment
4. Proliferative Retinopathy
- at this advanced stage, the signals sent by the retina for nourishment cause the growth of new blood vessels. These new blood vessels are abnormal and fragile, making them prone to haemorrhage (blood leakage), which may lead to severe vision loss and even blindness
What can I do?
- Have regular eye checks
- If you experience any symptoms, ie. blurred or distorted vision, or floating spots, come and see us as soon as you can
- Maintain control of your blood glucose, blood pressure and blood lipids, by:
- Following a healthy diet
- Taking your medications as prescribed by your doctor
Early detection and a healthy lifestyle can significantly slow down progression of the disease