Eye health: Diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness - symptoms
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In patients with diabetes, high blood sugar levels stem from problems with insulin production. Patients either can’t produce insulin, don’t produce enough of it or this hormone isn’t effective. However, this impairment can leave your blood sugar levels soaring, putting you at a risk of diabetic retinopathy.

Explaining the onset of the symptoms, the expert said: “In its early stages diabetic retinopathy usually doesn’t pose any noticeable symptoms, so an eye test can pick it up before you do.

“As diabetic retinopathy is a serious condition it is also important to monitor any changes in your vision and get them checked out by your optometrist.”

Although early symptoms might be difficult to pick up, Mr Edmonds shared the warning signs to look out for:

  • Persistent floaters
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty seeing in the dark.


Persistent floaters

Floaters detail spots in your vision that look like black or grey specs or cobwebs, drifting about when you move your eyes.

Mr Edmonds said: “Most people will experience floaters in their vision at some point in their life – particularly as we reach older age as the jelly-like substance in our eyes becomes more liquid.   

“If you notice more eye floaters than usual, a sudden onset of new ones, flashes of light in the eye or darkness on any side of your vision, you must get it looked at immediately as in some cases it can be a symptom of diabetic retinopathy.”

Blurred vision

Considered as one of the warning signs of diabetes, blurred vision can also point to diabetic retinopathy.

The expert said: “Diabetes raises the risk of experiencing diabetic retinopathy, where high blood sugar levels damage tiny blood vessels in the eye that sense light which can result in blurry vision.”

If you suffer from a blurred vision that points to diabetes, it can usually get resolved when you retrieve your blood sugar levels from the red zone.

Difficulty seeing in the dark

Mr Edmonds explained: “As diabetic retinopathy can cause damage to the light sensors in the eye it can lead to dimmer vision, almost as if you’re wearing sunglasses.

“If you’re struggling to see when it’s dark, it’s an important sign not to ignore.”

The NHS explains that your retina needs a constant supply of blood. This is received through a network of tiny blood vessels.

However, persistently high blood sugar levels can damage these blood vessels.

Mr Edmonds added: “You’re more at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy if you have had diabetes for a long time, have a persistently high blood sugar level, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, are pregnant or are of Asian or Afro-Caribbean background.

“By keeping your blood pressure, sugar levels and cholesterol levels down you can help reduce your risk.

“Make sure you have regular eye tests too.”

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