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Sysytemic Desease That Affects The Eyes – Diabetes

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is characterised by high blood glucose level due to defects in insulin secretion and/or action; also known as a disorder of glucose metabolism.
Diabetes can largely be classified as Type 1 (onset commonly in young adults), Type 2 (onset commonly in middle age or elderly group), gestational diabetes and secondary diabetes (from a damaged pancreas for example). There are several complications to diabetes, including complications to the kidneys, skin, joints and even the eyes!

Diabetes-Related Complications to the Eye
These complications can vary in severity, ranging from:
– Fluctuating eye prescriptions/ degree (frequent change in spectacles)
– Colour vision deficiency
– Reduced corneal sensitivity and corneal healing
– Cataract
– Glaucoma
– Diabetic retinopathy (diabetic eye disease)
– Cranial nerve palsies, leading to double vision, asymmetry of facial features

Diabetic Retinopathy Overview
Diabetic retinopathy arises from poor blood glucose level control, which leads to progressive retinal damage in the form of bleeding or leaking of lipoproteins from the retinal blood vessels, or even the growth of abnormal retinal blood vessels. This may eventually result in complete loss of vision. It can affect both Type 1 and 2 diabetes, but less common in secondary diabetes.
Fortunately, diabetic retinopathy can be treated and your vision can be preserved if detected early! Treatments include laser, intravitreal injection or even surgery such as vitrectomy.

(EastBourne Eye Clinic)

Eye with diabetic retinopathy (American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2018)

Who are at Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy?
– Poor control of blood glucose level
– Associated hypertension and/or high cholesterol
– Longer duration of diabetes, especially 10 years and longer
– Smoking
– Pregnancy

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
– Blur vision
– Fluctuating vision (phases of clear and blur vision)
– Patches of visual loss in your field of vision
– Colours appearing more “washed out” than they actually are

Patches of visual loss in your field of vision (Devon in Sight, 2013)

Screening for Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy can occur in the absence of symptoms. Due to the close association of diabetes to diabetic retinopathy, those who have diabetes should go for regular eye checks at least once a year. The eye check should cover not only the eye prescription, but more importantly, the retina should be checked to detect any early damage.

An OCT scan is the latest advancement in imaging technology. Similar to ultrasound, this technique employs light waves to achieve higher resolution pictures of the back of the eye. United Eyecare is very lucky to be one of the few optical shops in Singapore to have this gem to help our optometrists detect diabetic retinopathy and other disease PRIOR TO ANY SYMPTOMS.

Call us at 63976885 (Square 2) to book an appointment for yourself or your loved ones!

References
https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-diabetic-retinopathy
http://devoninsight.org.uk/information/common-sight-conditions/diabetic-retinopathy/
http://www.eastbourneeyeclinic.co.uk/eye-conditions/diabetic-eye-disease-retinopathy

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