Diabetes occurs when your body doesn't produce enough of the hormone "insulin" or because the insulin that is produced has a reduced effect. Insulin regulates the way your body uses the food you have eaten. If you have diabetes your body cannot cope in the usual way with sugar and other carbohydrates that you eat.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye (retina). It can cause blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated.
However, it usually takes several years for diabetic retinopathy to reach a stage where it could threaten your sight.
To minimise the risk of this happening, people with diabetes should:
ensure they control their blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol
attend annual diabetic eye screening appointments with us.
This type of diabetes commonly occurs before the age of 30 and is the result of your body producing little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes is primarily controlled by insulin injections so it is sometimes called insulin dependent diabetes.
This type of diabetes commonly occurs after the age of 40. In this type of diabetes your body does produce some insulin, but the amount is either too little or your body is not able to use it properly. Type 2 diabetes is generally controlled by diet, exercise and/or tablets. Although some people in this group will use insulin injections type 2 diabetes is sometimes referred to as non-insulin dependent diabetes.