6 facts every diabetes patient should know about diabetic retinopathy
The greatest risk factor for loss of vision due to diabetic retinopathy is failure to attend for retinal screening or treatment. Help to change social attitudes by sharing these 6 facts with your diabetes patients:
- Diabetes will eventually affect the blood vessels in your eyes. This is called diabetic retinopathy, and it can lead to visual impairment and blindness.
- By controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure, you can reduce the damage diabetes can cause in your eyes. However, your eyes will eventually develop some diabetic changes. If you do get diabetic retinopathy, it is not your fault.
- Diabetic retinopathy in most people has no symptoms – you cannot tell if you have it. Only an examination of the back of your eyes can find it, and you should be examined every year.
- Diabetic retinopathy is treatable if it is found in the early stages. If you attend all your screening or clinic appointments, and have treatment when recommended, it is very unlikely that you will go blind.
- If you do not attend diabetic eye screening or eye clinic appointments, your diabetic retinopathy can become very advanced and will affect your vision. If left untreated, you may go blind.
- Modern treatments with laser and drugs are very effective in stopping vision loss. However, treatment cannot restore vision that has already been lost.
Find out more about patient beliefs and social attitudes towards diabetic retinopathy: “I wish someone had told me …”