• Living with Diabetes

Eye examination

Eyes (retinopathy)

Diabetic retinopathy or ‘retinopathy’ is damage to the retina (the ‘seeing’ part at the back of the eye) and is a complication that can affect people with diabetes.

What causes retinopathy?

To see, light must be able to pass from the front of the eye through to the retina, being focused by the lens. The retina is the light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of the eye – the ‘seeing’ part of the eye. It converts the light into electrical signals. These signals are sent to your brain through the optic nerve and your brain interprets them to produce the images that you see. A delicate network of blood vessels supplies the retina with blood. When those blood vessels become blocked, leaky or grow haphazardly, the retina becomes damaged and is unable to work properly. Retinopathy is damage to the retina.

Risks to your eyes

Persistent high levels of glucose can lead to damage in your eyes. To reduce the risk of eye problems, blood glucose, blood pressure and blood fats need to be kept within a target range, which should be agreed by you and your healthcare team. The aim of your diabetes treatment, with a healthy lifestyle, is to achieve these agreed targets.

Smoking also plays a major part in eye damage so, if you do smoke, stopping will be extremely helpful.

Source: Diabetes UK (https://www.diabetes.org.uk/)

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