As part of Diabetes Awareness Week (11-17 June) ophthalmic director of Specsavers in Loughton, Steven Hui, explains how the condition can impact eye health.
Steven said: ‘Our sight is so important to us, but people don’t always realise that going to the opticians is not only about finding out your prescription or getting glasses and contact lenses. Our knowledge and equipment can help detect many conditions, from eye conditions such as glaucoma or retinal detachment, to other health issues such diabetes or even tumours.
Advice on diabetes
‘Diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels and in our eyes we have very fine blood vessels. The blood vessel walls of diabetics tend to become thinner, and when they become thinner, you tend to get leakages from them, so you can get little spots of blood on the retina and you can also get fat and lipids leaking out from those vessels.
‘In a lot of patients that wouldn’t cause any problems, but if the leaking is quite near the centre of the retina, where most of our detailed vision comes from, it can cause some degree of vision loss.
Early detection important
‘If we see those early changes near that part of the retina we would refer those patients on for further investigation and treatment.’
Steven Hui is both the clinical lead and ophthalmic director of Specsavers in Loughton and part of the West Essex Local Optical Committee.