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Eyes on Diabetes - Discussing Diabetic Retinopathy

Info for People with Diabetes and the Wider Community

Regular eye examinations

There is more to a healthy pair of eyes than clear vision

When an optometrist examines your eyes, the clarity and comfort of your vision as well as the general health of your eyes will be checked.

After discussing visual problems, your optometrist will use a series of tests to determine if you need prescription lenses and, if so, how strong they should be for efficient vision. There will also be checks to ensure that your eyes are working correctly as a team and to assess your ability to focus for near vision.

The front of the eye including the cornea, conjuctiva, iris, lens and lids will be inspected with a slit-lamp microscope. The inside of the eye including the lens, the retinal blood vessels and the optic nerve head will be examined with an ophthalmoscope.

The appearance of these tissues can indicate problems involving the eye, for example cataract or glaucoma, or other diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Sometimes medication will have side-effects which disturb vision. Measurements of intra-ocular pressure, fields of vision and colour vision may also be done. If your optometrist finds any sign of eye disease or of general health problems, arrangements can be made for you to see an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) or general medical practitioner.

Many of the changes caused by eye disease occur slowly, often over years, and sometimes without obvious signs or symptoms. Regular check-ups make detection more likely, enabling prompt treatment with a better chance of curing or controlling the disease.

Remember to tell your optometrist about any blurred vision, headaches, sore or red eyes, or double vision. Discuss the vision requirements of your occupation. It may be helpful to bring measurements of the distances from your eyes to your computer screen, workbench, instruments or machines. Remember to mention music, hobby or sporting activities which may require special lenses. This information will help your optometrist provide the best possible eye care for you.

If you would like more information on eye conditions such as shortsightedness (myopia), longsightedness (hyperopia), cataract and glaucoma, your optometrist can offer you a wide range of pamphlets.

Your optometrist is registered and qualified to:

Optometrists also advise on:

If an eye disease or general health disorder is detected, your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist or general medical practitioner.

Medical insurance cover

Useful Links

Important information can be found on the websites of associated organsiations.

Useful Links for People with Diabetes and the Wider Community

More Info for People with Diabetes and the Wider Community

What is Diabetes

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Medicare and Optometry

Regular eye examinations

Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind - Pension Benefits

Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind - Free Publications List

Royal Victorian Institute For the Blind - Services Booklet

Vision Australia

Consumer Guide-NHMRC

ICEE - International Centre for Eyecare Education

ICEE Media Release

Redfern Aboriginal Eye Care Clinic

RVEEH Retinopathy Poster

Lions Eye Health Program - Australia resource materials

Australian Lions Working with the Vietnamese Community

Olympian Andrew Gaze and his Team do their bit to Promote the Prevention of Diabetic Retinopathy

Eye and Ear Hospital Services

Australian Lions working with the Turkish Community

Diabetic retinopathy diagnosis and managment



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