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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can type 2 diabetes lead to eye problems?

    I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and have heard that some patients are later diagnosed with eye problems. What is the link between the two and is there anything I can do to prevent it?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Carolien Koreneff

    Counsellor, Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator, Psychotherapist, Registered Nurse

    Carolien Koreneff is a Somatic (body-oriented) psychotherapist, Health Coach, Counsellor as well as a Credentialed Diabetes Educator with over 20 years experience. She currently sees … View Profile

    People at diabetes are at risk of developing retinopathy (damage to the blood vessels in the retina) due to changes of the vasculature. The most important factor in avoiding eye damage due to diabetes is by keeping your sugar levels and blood pressure under control.

    The following website explaines it all in good detail: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/diabetic/retinopathy.asp

    You may want to check out this site and if you have any further concerns or questions it may be best to talk to your optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye specialist doctor).

    I hope you find this helpful.

  • Dr Kevin Lee

    Endocrinologist, Nuclear Medicine Physician

    Consultant Physician in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nuclear Medicine. I am on Twitter @dr_kevinlee. I am on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kevinleefracp/ I help patients with obesity, diabetes, thyroid, … View Profile

    Type 2 diabetes can be associated with many eye problems.

    Starting from increased risk of cataracts, glaucoma, to diabetic retinopathy

    Retinopathy can occur fairly early. There has been big studies from UK(1), Scotland(2) that show up to 1/5 individuals get diagnosed with retinopathy within 1 year of being diagnosed with T2D.

    Therefore the Australian NHMRC recommendation is for screening for retinopathy at diagnosis of diabetes ( https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/di15

    Optimal glycemic control and control of other cardiometabolic risk factors are important aspects of preventing progression of retinopathy.

    There are other additional treatment options but it's more appropriate for your doctor to discuss them with you.

    1.    Kostev K, Rathmann W. Diabetic retinopathy at diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in the UK: a database analysis. Diabetologia. 2012 Oct 6;56(1):109–11. 
    2. Looker HC, Nyangoma SO, Cromie D, Olson JA, Leese GP, Black M, et al. Diabetic retinopathy at diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in Scotland. Diabetologia. 2012 Sep;55(9):2335–42.

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