Diabetes is a disease of the small blood vessels found all over the body.

Key facts:

  • Two main types; type 1 and type 2
  • Untreated diabetes can damage your organs
  • Symptoms include: feeling thirsty, peeing more than usual, feeling tired regularly.
  • 1 in 16 people have diabetes in the UK, and this is rising.
  • Can cause serious long-term health problems.

Risk factors:

  • Age – Over 60s at greater risk
  • Smoking – Can occur at an earlier age due to smoking
  • Genetics – family history increases the risk
  • Diet – Being over-weight. Eat a health balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight
  • Blood pressure – high blood pressure increases the risk
  • Exercise – Not enough exercise increases you risk. Take regular exercise
  • Ethnicity – Asian backgrounds are at higher risk

Risk factors often occur in combination and it is not possible to pin the condition down to one reason or another.

What can i do:

  • Having regular eye checks will help pick up the condition sooner, and may even be before you experience any symptoms.
  • Look at your lifestyle, take regular exercise, quit smoking, have a diet rich in green leafy vegetables.
  • Assessing your lifestyle with your Optometrist can identify areas that may place you at higher risk.
  • Taking macula antioxidants if you have risk factors may help to maintain macula health.
  • Using good quality sunglasses will help protect your eyes form harmful UV light.


If you are diagnosed with diabetes you will be put on the national diabetic eye screening service to maintain a record of the health of your eyes. You should still attend for your annual sight test at Oldfields Opticians even if you are under the eye screening service. Your prescription is at risk of changes if your diabetes control is variable. This will allow us to pick up changes related to your diabetes sooner.

If signs of diabetes are found in your eye, depending on the severity, you may need to have treatment with laser.

There is a new therapy now available for Diabetic Retinopathy. You can find out more about it by clicking here.