How eye tests pick up early signs of sight-threatening conditions

Diabetes is becoming an increasingly concerning health problem in New Zealand with more than 250,000 Kiwis currently living with the condition, and an expected increase in numbers by as much as 90 percent over the next 20 years. 

World Diabetes Day is on November 15 and it's an important reminder to book in your eye test. If you have diabetes, your eyes are at risk of damage from a condition called diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to sight loss if it's not treated.  

The complication is caused by damage to the blood vessels at the back of the eye in the retina, and as many as one in three Kiwis with diabetes has some sign of diabetic retinopathy.

According to Diabetes NZ, an estimated one in four New Zealanders are living with undiagnosed pre-diabetic symptoms.

Why eye tests are important

Specsavers stores have hospital-grade technology that help optometrists detect diabetic retinopathy, and other sight-threatening eye conditions early through an advanced 3D scan of the back of the eye. 

Some patients with diabetic retinopathy might not experience any symptoms until it progresses to an advanced stage, while others might experience worsening vision, sudden vision loss, floaters, blurriness, dark areas of vision or difficulty recognising colours. 

On occasion some patients have been diagnosed with diabetes after a routine eye appointment, so it's not just diabetics who should be attending regular eye health checks.

It's recommended that everyone visit an optometrist at least every two years, but more often if you notice a change in your vision or if advised to by a health professional. 

Specsavers Optometrist David Alridge explains more.

Watch the video above to learn more about it. 

This article was created for Specsavers.