As a diabetic, caring for your eyes is imperative – looking after your blood sugar levels is the beginning of good eye care. Retinopathy is a condition of the retina caused by the progressive deterioration of blood vessels that supply blood to the retina. Diabetes weakens the walls of these blood vessels, and sometimes the vessels break, causing haemorrhages within the retina or other parts of the eye. These haemorrhages cloud the vision. Retinopathy is usually diagnosed in people who have had diabetes for at least 10 years. Most people who have had diabetes for over 30 years show signs of retinopathy. Cataracts are also more common in people with diabetes.

If you have had diabetes for at least 5 years, have a dilated eye examination every year. If you are 30 or older, it is essential to have a dilated eye examination when you are diagnosed with diabetes, as well as every year thereafter.

  • Have regular eye checks by an ophthalmologist, not only an optometrist
  • Keep a tight reign on your blood sugar levels
  • Make sure you do not have high blood pressure as it can make eye problems worse

An Eye Examination Is Needed If The Following Symptoms Appear:

  • You see double
  • Your vision is blurred
  • You can’t see quite as clearly as you used to
  • You have “floaters” in your vision
  • Your eyes become red for no apparent reason
  • Your eyes hurt for no apparent reason
  • You can only see things directly in front of you
  • “Pressure” builds up in your eyes

Before beginning an exercise program, make sure you have an eye examination by an ophthalmologist. Anyone who is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy will normally be advised to select a non-jarring, non-straining sport such as swimming, stationary cycling or walking, instead of jogging, squash, or lifting weights.