How can diabetes affect my vision?

The following was written by Bill Evans and published in the Coolum and North Shore News, Ask the Professionals page on Friday, 28th December 2012.

Q: How can diabetes affect my vision?

A: Seven in ten people with diabetes will develop signs of the disease in their eyes or experience changes to their vision.

In mild diabetes, people may find their vision to be quite variable and get better or worse from day to day, or even before or after meals. An optometrist may see small haemorrhages and microaneurysms on the retina at the back of the eye, as the high blood sugar level damages the blood vessels.

In more advanced diabetes an optometrist or ophthalmologist may see swelling in the nerve fibre layer of the retina, as well as new blood vessels forming in or under the retina. These often leak and create further problems with haemorrhages, or push the retina out of shape and distort vision. Laser surgery may be required to prevent further haemorrhaging. People with diabetes are also more likely to have cataracts or glaucoma.

Good control of blood sugar level will minimize the adverse visual effects of diabetes.