Diabetic patients must have their eyes checked at least once a year due to the high risk of diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy is the damage to the back of the eye, the retina, caused by diabetes. The condition builds up slowly and at first there are no visual symptoms – this is called background retinopathy.
The commonest form of vision loss in older diabetics is diabetic maculopathy. This is caused by the blockage of small blood vessels in the eye. Other blood vessels then dilate to compensate and they leak causing fluid to accumulate in the centre of vision. When there are large areas of blocked blood vessels the response is growth of new vessels and this is another cause of vision loss.
Background retinopathy requires no treatment and proliferative retinopathy and maculopathy can be treated by laser.
In order that sight threatening changes can be detected and treated before vision is lost, it is essential that people with diabetes have the back of their eyes examined at least once a year. Even if you attend diabetic screening through the hospitals, you still need to visit an optometrist once a year.
The Sheffield Diabetic Screening Programme (SDSP) has altered. Diabetics are now asked to go directly to the screener to have the back of their eyes (retinas) photographed. Previously we would have taken the photos and send them to the screeners at the SDSSP to be graded. At MKO we can still dilate your pupils, have a good look at the back of your eyes. Using a different piece of equipment we can see an even wider picture than that of the retinal camera. We do not charge extra for this service.
At selected practices,can still take retinal photographs, for which we make a small charge.