We are an accredited diabetic eye screening centre for Birmingham and the black Country. Diabetes now affects nearly one third of the population over 50 in England. It can effect many area's of the body, particularly circulation and the nervous system. As far as the eyes are concerned it can effect the blood circulation at the back of the eye (the retina) causing either leakages or blockages. Many of these eye problems can be treated with timely intervention so, if you are diabetic, it is important to have your eye's screened annually. This involves instilling dilating drops in the eyes to enlarge the pupils and taking a photograph of the retina. Because these drops may effect vision it is important not to drive.
It is important to note that many diabetics will not go on to develop serious diabetic retinopathy although, as a general rule, the better your diabetic control is, the lower the risk of developing complications. See http://www.self-help.org.uk/directory/diabetes/
For those interested I have included a classification and aetiology of diabetes below:
Type 1 diabetes is characterized by being acute in onset, usually the patient is young and is known to be autoimmune in nature, possibly mediated by viral attack. There is a suggested genetic vulnerability, however the link is not well understood and the aetiology of type 1 diabetes is also unclear.
The major difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is that in type 1 the insulin producing cells (the beta cells in the islets of Langerhans) are almost completely destroyed and no insulin is produced.Type 1 diabetes can not be controlled by tablets as no insulin is produced in the body and so it has to be injected (insulin is a hormone composed of proteins and would be digested and broken down in the stomach if taken by mouth).
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by normal or supra normal levels of insulin production but the insulin produced is ineffective in controlling cellular glucose metabolism. Glucose is the extra cellular energy currency and is utilized by mitochondrion in Krebs cycle to produce adenosine tri phosphate molecules, the intra cellular energy currency. The treatment of type two diabetes is largely based around drugs which either increase insulin production and / or increase glucose metabolism both resulting in reduced blood glucose. Additional insulin by injection may also be necessary.
In type 2 diabetes there is a stronger genetic link, onset is usually late ( but is becoming earlier due to multiple factors, particularly obesity) Onset is usually gradual, frequently asymptomatic and it is not usually detected unless screened positively for. 90-95 % of all North American cases are type 2 and it has a prevalence of 20% of the population over 65. The prevalence of diabetes in 2004 was much higher among some ethnic minority communities than in the general population.