People with diabetes are 20 times more likely to develop eye problems than without diabetes.
Of the vision problems that can develop, diabetic retinopathy is the most common. Retinopathy is a condition in which blood vessels in the light sensing part of the eye, the retina, become damaged. The risk of retinopathy is linked with high blood glucose levels and is therefore more common in people who have lived with diabetes for a long period of time or have been unable to control their blood sugar levels.
Retinopathy is easier to treat when the symptoms are caught early. For this reason, people with diabetes over 12 years old should undergo specific eye checks for retinopathy at least once each year. Retinopathy screening is one of the major health checks that people with diabetes should receive. Whilst many NHS Trusts have a well run screening programme to ensure patients with diabetes are checked once a year, reports indicate that some trusts are still catching up.
In addition to the risks of retinopathy, people with diabetes have increased risks of glaucoma and cataracts as well. As with retinopathy, good blood glucose control can help to prevent the development of these eye problems.

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