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Understanding Diabetes and Its Impact on Your Vision

Diabetes, especially type 2, has continuously increased in South Africa throughout the years, with an estimated 4.6 million people recorded living with the illness in 2021.

With World Diabetes Day on the 14th of November, as optometrists, it’s very important to help you understand that diabetes can have a significant impact on your eyes, leading to potentially severe vision problems.

In this blog, we’ll give you some background information and statistics plus simple self-care tips that can make a difference to your eye health.

Diabetes and Vision Loss: A Reality Check

Diabetic Retinopathy is a serious eye condition that occurs as a result of prolonged high blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes. It affects the blood vessels in the retina and the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eyes. Over time, these blood vessels can become damaged, leading to vision problems or even blindness.

In South Africa, Diabetic Retinopathy is a growing concern. A study conducted by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) found that approximately 11.3% of adults with diabetes in the country have some degree of Diabetic Retinopathy.

The Importance of Early Detection

The best way to avoid Diabetic Retinopathy is early detection. Regular eye examinations at your nearest Vision Works store are essential, as this can help identify the condition in its early stages.

Diabetic Retinopathy symptoms to look out for:

If you have any of the above symptoms or may be worried that you may be in danger of developing diabetes, book an appointment with Vision Works.
Below you’ll find 5 important tips which may help you lessen the chances of later developing Diabetic Retinopathy:
  • Maintain Blood Sugar Levels:

    Monitor and control your blood sugar levels regularly as directed by your healthcare professional.

  • Annual Eye Exams:

    Schedule yearly eye exams at your local Vision Works store to detect early indications of Diabetic Retinopathy.

  • Changes in Lifestyle:

    Adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes a well-balanced diet (fresh fruit, leafy greens, lean proteins), quit smoking, and partake in regular exercise.

  • Medication Compliance:

    To properly control your diabetes, take medicines as prescribed by your healthcare professional and DON’T self-medicate. The professionals know best.

  • Diabetes Awareness and Education:

    Expose yourself to information about diabetes and its associated consequences.

With early detection and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, the risk of diabetes-associated vision loss can be significantly reduced.

To acknowledge World Diabetes Day on the 14th of November, make the smart choice and click here to book your Smart Comprehensive Eye Test for only R390.