People with a family member with diabetes may be at risk of developing diabetes themselves. If you are overweight or of Asian ethnicity, you have a higher risk than average of becoming diabetic. You may have symptoms of tiredness, thirst, passing urine frequently or may have no symptoms at all.
If you think you may be at risk of diabetes please make an appointment with the practice nurse to have a screening test.
If you are diabetic, the surgery can organise for you to have information about diabetes in leaflet form.
You may need to change your diet & lifestyle. We will organise for you to have a regular check up, this is normally done annually but sometimes this is done more frequently. We have a visiting retinal photography van that we can arrange to check your eyes for any of the early changes of diabetes & we will arrange blood tests & urine tests to make sure you are on the correct treatment.
If you have missed your appointment for retinal eye screening or need to change an appointment please ring them on 01983 898700 to discuss with them directly.
Dr Curtis has a special interest in diabetes.
If you feel you may be at risk of developing diabetes then please feel free to make an appointment to discuss screening with us. This website is a useful tool to calculate your risk of developing diabetes.
For information about diabetes please click the appropriate language
Screening for Diabetic Eye Disease
What is Diabetic Eye Disease?
As someone living with diabetes it is very important that your eyes are checked on an annual basis, particularly the retina at the back of your eyes.
Your diabetes can damage the small delicate blood vessels on the retina. This is known as Diabetic Retinopathy.
Over time these blood vessels can begin to leak and it is vital that any leakage is detected as soon as possible for treatment to be effective.
Sometimes these blood vessels become blocked and new vessels begin to grow. If left untreated the new vessels can bleed very easily and cause severe visual problems or blindness.
Treatment for any of these problems is much more effective the earlier they are identified.
How we look for Diabetic Retinopathy
Photographs of the back of your eyes will need to be taken to see if any changes have started to happen.
An appointment will be made for you at a location within your area (usually close to your GP surgery) so that you do not have to travel far for your appointment. A special camera is used for taking pictures at the back of your eyes.
So that we can get good clear photographs it is often necessary to make your pupils larger using eye drops. These eye drops may sting but this will wear off very quickly.
The eye drops will cause your pupils to remain large for several hours and you may find that a bright day or car headlights affect your vision.
WARNING: You are advised not to drive to your appointment. If you have an accident with your pupils dilated this could affect the validity of your car insurance.
Once we have the photographs they are taken back to the hospital for a full assessment. We will look at the photographs and decide if any treatment is needed.
How we treat Diabetic Retinopathy
If diabetic retinopathy is found it does not necessarily pose a threat to your eyesight or require treatment, but your eyes may need to be photographed again at more regular intervals.
If treatment is needed then this will take place at an eye clinic within a local hospital.
A specialist doctor may decide to use a laser to try and stop any blood vessels from leaking or to help prevent more new vessels from growing.
The laser is very precise and only affects a very small part of the retina each time it is used. The amount of laser needed will be different for each patient.
You will not need to stay in hospital for the laser but once again it is important that you do not drive to the appointment.
You may also be offered advice on the control of your diabetes and improving your blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
Frequently asked questions
My eyes seem fine. Do I need this test?
Yes, definitely! Diabetic Retinopathy does not affect your eyesight until it has become quite advanced, by then the treatment is less effective and your eyesight is then at risk of being permanently damaged.
Will I lose my eyesight if you find any Diabetic Retinopathy?
Most cases of Diabetic Retinopathy will pose no threat to your eyesight but it is important for us to keep a regular check by either calling you back for more photographs in a few months or by having a better look at the Eye Hospital. The earlier we find and treat any problems the better chance we have of preventing any damage to your eyesight.
When will I know if more tests are needed?
If more tests are required then the Eye Hospital will send you an appointment as soon as possible otherwise your GP surgery will simply contact you again when more photographs need to be taken, in about a years time.
Is there anything I can do to help my eyes?
Yes. You can help to control your diabetes by keeping your blood sugar levels and blood pressure as near to normal levels as possible, by eating healthily, exercising regularly and not smoking. Your GP or practice nurse can always provide advice to help you.
Do I still need to visit the optician?
Yes. We are only looking for diabetic changes and are unable to prescribe glasses or to detect high pressure within your eyes (Glaucoma). Your optician will have the facilities to perform all of these very important tests although they may not check for diabetic retinopathy.
I currently have appointments at an eye hospital. Do I still need to attend for screening?
Unless your appointments are related specifically to diabetic problems with your eyes, you still need to attend for screening.
Is laser treatment painful?
Some types of laser are not painful but others can be uncomfortable. If you were to feel any discomfort then it is possible to give some relief with an anaesthetic. Always ask the doctor who is performing the laser for more information.
Will laser cure the diabetic retinopathy?
There is no guarantee that laser will stop the problems altogether and sometimes several treatments maybe needed. Once again, laser is much more effective the earlier the problems are found.
Can laser damage my eyes?
Laser can cause some changes to your vision. However, we do know that if you don’t have laser treatment even more vision would eventually be lost.
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