Diabetes and eye floaters – a sign of diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetes doesn’t just have consequences for your body; it can affect your eyes, too. One aspect of diabetic eye disease is known as diabetic retinopathy.

We’re covering what diabetic retinopathy is, its signs, and how tests carried out at our independent opticians practice can help diagnose and treat this condition.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is typically caused by high blood sugar levels. This can negatively affect the blood vessels in the eyes, causing damage to the retina, the light-sensitive part of the eye. If this is left untreated, it can potentially cause irreversible blindness.

The early signs

early signs

Diabetic retinopathy develops gradually, often making symptoms easy to overlook or misattribute to other issues. For the retina to function properly, it requires a steady blood supply. Understanding the connection between diabetes and eye floaters can help in early detection of this condition. As the blood vessels become progressively damaged, you might experience:

  • blurriness
  • dark spots in your vision
  • difficulty differentiating colour
  • floating shapes in your vision

If you develop any of these symptoms, we recommend you get in touch with us as soon as possible to be seen.

Detecting diabetic retinopathy

Detecting diabetic retinopathy

Having a regular diabetic eye check-up with our optometrists is crucial as it allows us to monitor any issues and provides detailed data for comparisons, vastly improving your chances of avoiding vision loss.

Our optometrists are trained to use our state-of-the-art Optos system, which combines OCT (optical coherence tomography) and Optomap widefield imaging to give a comprehensive overview of the back of your eyes.

OCT is a non-invasive scan that uses light waves to create detailed cross-sectional images of your retinal tissue layers, which are then collated to form a 3D image. Optomap is also non-invasive and gives a 200-degree panoramic view of the retina compared to the 45 degrees seen with traditional retinal imaging technology.

Both scans are done within minutes, and the results are produced instantly, allowing our optometrist to analyse them and explain their findings to you during your appointment.

Using this advanced diagnostic equipment enables us to detect issues long before any symptoms appear, sometimes up to 5 years before a routine eye exam would pick them up. This is incredibly important to facilitate timely treatment and management of any conditions.

Can diabetic retinopathy be reversed?

diabetic retinopathy be reversed

Diabetic retinopathy is preventable and treatable in terms of managing the condition once it develops to stop it from getting worse; however, it is irreversible.

As a complication of diabetes, the easiest way to help defend against the condition is by maintaining blood sugar levels with a healthy lifestyle. For advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy, treatments such as laser surgery and eye injections are an option. We will refer you to the hospital eye department to have these done if necessary.

Book an appointment

We can’t understate the importance of having regular diabetic eye exams and also booking advanced retinal scans for your peace of mind. Consider it an investment in your vision for the long term. Get in touch with one of our team today to schedule an appointment with our optometrists in Dundee.