Diabetes and the Eyes

OPSM urges Australians to have their eyes tested this Diabetes Awareness Week (9th to 15th July).

More than 300 Australians develop diabetes every day, which is equal to 1 every 5 minutes1. Diabetes is a multi-faceted disease that has impacts on many aspects of health and wellbeing, including vision. OPSM Optometrist, Kirby Phillips, describes the impact high or variable blood sugar due to diabetes can have on the eyes.

“There are a number of ways that vision can be affected by diabetes,” Kirby explains. “There can be fluctuations in vision as well as the presence of diabetic retinopathy – a condition which has the potential to cause severe vision loss.” Regular eye examinations with an optometrist can detect signs of diabetes as well as ensure that diagnosed diabetes is remaining well-controlled.

Diabetic retinopathy can present without symptoms in its early stages, but if left untreated, it can result in vision that is blurred, patchy or distorted2. This can impact day-to-day activities such as walking, reading and watching television.

“Prevention is key in the management of diabetic retinopathy,” Kirby says. “Blood sugar control and regular appointments with health professionals, including your GP and optometrist, are important factors in maintaining good eye health.”

1 in 20 Australians have diagnosed diabetes, but studies have shown that many Australians are living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes3. This means that regular health checks are vital in ensuring any undetected diabetes is found and treated. Regular eye tests as directed by your optometrist are essential, with or without the presence of diagnosed medical conditions.


Diabetes Australia. Diabetes in Australia (2023).
Vision Australia. Diabetic Retinopathy (2023).
Diabetes: Australian Facts. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2023).

Photo by The Lucky Neko on Unsplash

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