Feature Article

Diabetes: don’t forget the eyes

Ian J Constable



Most people with diabetes eventually get some retinopathy. Early detection through regular dilated-pupil ophthalmoscopy or colour fundus photography allows timely laser treatment, which can prevent severe visual loss in over 90% of those at risk. Despite this outstanding medical benefit, only half our diabetic population are enrolled in a regular, effective screening program.

Key Points

  • Almost all people with diabetes eventually develop some evidence of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Regular screening is essential because diabetic retinopathy is common and has an effective treatment with laser photocoagulation.
  • Make sure each of your diabetic patients has two normal eyes, by formal screening at the time of diagnosis and every one to two years thereafter.
  • Tight control of blood glucose and glycosylated haemoglobin levels over many years can greatly decrease the risk of eye problems or their progression to visual loss.