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Eye disease is one of the long-term complications of diabetes. Two per cent of people who have had diabetes for 15 years become blind and about 10 per cent develop severe visual impairment. It is therefore of the utmost importance that you take note of this information.
If you have diabetes, it does not necessarily mean that your sight will be affected, but there is a higher risk. If your diabetes is well controlled then you are less likely to have problems, or they may be less serious. However, if there are complications that affect the eyes, then this may result in loss of sight.
As most sight loss due to diabetes can be prevented, it is vital that it be diagnosed early. All people with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, should have a comprehensive dilated eye examination at least once a year. This is extremely important, as you may not realise that there is anything wrong with your eyes until it is too late.
Diabetic eye disease may include:
During pregnancy, diabetic retinopathy may be a problem for women with diabetes. If you have diabetes and are pregnant, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye examination as soon as possible.
For more information, you can also contact the Diabetes Association of South Africa at 011 886 3721 or visit www.diabetessa.co.za.