Diabetes is a disease which prevents the body from making or using insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. As a result, the metabolism of various substances, such as fats, proteins and sugars are not balanced. This can cause problems for the various systems of the body. One such problem is known as diabetic retinopathy, which is when the small blood vessels in the retina begin to leak, swell or develop new branches.
In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy there may be no to minimal visual symptoms but, if left untreated, it can cause blindness. Presently, diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in North America.
How Can We Help?
Regular vision examinations are important as eye changes can often be an early sign of diabetes. Blurred or fluctuating vision can be a complaint early on in diabetes. For those individuals already with diabetes, vision will be monitored closely and your eyes will likely be dilated at each exam. If we detect a significant change in your vision, we may need to make a referral to an appropriate specialist to minimize possible damage to the eye.
For those who have suffered a vision loss due to diabetes, as optometrists, we can offer assistance by prescribing a variety of low vision aids.