Diabetic related eye conditions

What are diabetic related eye conditions?

Patients with diabetes are more likely to develop eye problems such as cataracts or glaucoma, but the principal threat to vision is through diabetic retinopathy which is damage to the retina.

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder characterised by insufficient insulin production or insensitivity to insulin, which leads to too much sugar (glucose) in the blood.

Regulating blood glucose levels is extremely important. Untreated diabetes can result in damage to blood vessels, nerves and organs such as the kidney and the eye. The retina is situated at the back of the eye and responsible for detecting light and transmitting this signal to the brain, resulting in a visual image. Nutrients and oxygen are transported to the retina via numerous blood vessels. These vessels can be damaged by the high blood sugar levels often seen in non-treated diabetes or diabetes that is not completely controlled. This is known as diabetic retinopathy, which has several forms.

Most patients with diabetes will have developed some signs of diabetic change in the retina after 20 years.

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