Eye problems (retinopathy)

There is a greater risk of developing eye problems when you have type 1 diabetes, but there are things that can be done to prevent vision loss, if the signs are caught early enough

Check upsThe problems you could get include:

  • A cataract, which is a thickening and clouding of the lens of the eye which blurs vision or makes it hard to see at night
  • Glaucoma, which is when the pressure builds up inside the eye which can decrease the blood flow to the retina and optic nerve, causing damage. Over time, if left untreated, glaucoma can lead to vision loss
  • Diabetic retinopathy, which involves changes in the retina (the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye) due to damage or growth problems in the small blood vessels of the retina.

Catching eye problems early

You should receive an invitation to an eye screening every year. This means that you’ll be able to catch signs of any problem early and do something about it.

At your appointment, a ophthalmologist or optometrist will dilate your pupils and use a special instrument, called an ophthalmoscope, to look at the back of your eyes.

If it’s caught early, there are things that can be done to prevent vision loss. This might include laser surgery.

Reducing the risk of eye problems

Eye problems occur when your blood glucose levels are regularly high, so to reduce this risk of any problems, you’ll need to manage your type 1 diabetes as best as possible. It’s also important that you always attend your annual eye screenings to catch any signs early.