Woman with type 1 diabetes nearly BLINDED after blood vessels in her eye BURST

A WOMAN who has been living with type 1 diabetes for twenty years nearly lost her vision after blood vessels in her eyes burst.

Eileen Breeze, 54, from Aldwick in Bognor Regis missed three NHS routine eye checks after they were cancelled.

But after booking an eye check up with Optegra Eye Hospital in Hampshire, her surgeon found that a number of blood vessels had been badly affected by her diabetes.

As a result, Eileen was booked in for sight-saving laser treatment surgery the same day – which was a success, but she now has to have injections every month.

Diabetes can increase the risk of cataract, glaucoma and damage to the retina, so experts advise eye checks are ‘vital’ to maintain the health of the eyes.

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Charity Diabetes UK said: “Persistent high levels of glucose can lead to damage in the eyes.

“To reduce the risk of eye problems, blood glucose, blood pressure and blood fats need to be kept within a target range, which should be agreed by you and your healthcare team. The aim of your diabetes treatment, with a healthy lifestyle, is to achieve these agreed targets.”

Diabetes UK said that in the last year 235,000 people have been diagnosed with the condition, which can also lead to limb amputations, kidney failure and stroke.

Eileen had pan-retinal photocoagulation laser eye surgery, which prevents the development of the abnormal leaking new blood vessels which can devastate vision.

She now has to have monthly Eylea (VEGF trap) injections which both control diabetic macular swelling and prevent the growth of new vessels.

The drugs attack the chemicals which stimulate new vessel growth and work in much the same way as treatment for wet age related macular degeneration. They do not, however, damage any healthy tissue.

Eileen said: “I am just so relieved that I did not leave the checkups any longer.

“Three NHS appointments had been cancelled and I was worried as I felt my vision was changing. “It is frightening to think what could have happened, and it has made me realise how precious my eyesight is.

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“Never again will I be missing an appointment.”

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly.

There are two forms of the condition – Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce insulin. Around one in 10 people with diabetes have Type 1 and it usually affects children or young adults.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the insulin produced does not work properly. Type 2 diabetes is linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight.

Mr Andrew Luff, ophthalmic surgeon at Optegra Eye Health Care, said: “Eileen’s case really does demonstrate how essential it is to keep check on eye health – particularly for those with a condition such as diabetes, which can directly impact on the eyes.

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“In the space of just a few months, Eileen’s eye health was in a critical condition.

“Thankfully there are many treatment options available but it is essential to treat such conditions as quickly as possible to avoid the risk of irreversible damage.

“If someone with diabetes suffers from blurring, fluctuating vision, or notices reduced colour or blank, empty areas in their vision, these are clear warning signs and they should seek urgent medical advice.”

Charity Diabetes UK said: Diabetic retinopathy or ‘retinopathy’ is damage to the retina – the seeing part at the back of the eye – and is a complication that can affect people with diabetes.

It said: “The retina converts the light into electrical signals. A delicate network of blood vessels supplies the retina with blood. When those blood vessels become blocked, leaky or grow haphazardly, the retina becomes damaged and is unable to work properly.”

SOURCE / Reference :http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/679738/type-1-diabetes-sight-loss-blood-vessels

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