A detailed anatomical model of a human eye, showing internal structures such as the lens, iris, and retina. The outer casing is partially cut away to reveal the inside components.

Diabetes and the Eye

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, either Type I or Type II, you are at risk of losing your sight. In fact, nearly half of all Australians are living with diabetes and are not having regular eye tests.

How does eye damage occur?

When your eye becomes inflamed from diabetes, the blood vessels inside the eye can leak. These haemorrages can lead to the death of the retinal tissues that line the inside of the eye. If the haemorraging or death of tissue occurs in critical parts of the retina, this may result in irreversible blindness.

How is the eye damage treated?

Depending on the severity, treatment can include changes to medications and tighter control of HbA1c levels. In more severe cases, referral to an ophthalmologist may be required for laser treatments or injections into the eyeball.

How can I prevent eye damage from happening to me?

Keeping control of your HbA1c (sugar levels) is a critical component of eye health.
Regular eye tests are vital for early detection of changes in the retina. Your optometrist will perform a detailed analysis of your retina using a bright light and take digital images of the back of the eye.

Illustration of a person standing beside a large blue eye with various abstract shapes and plant elements in the background. The person wears a blue shirt and black pants.

What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is a condition that causes a kind of eye irritation. Caused by an overgrowth of bacteria on the eyelids, at the base of your eyelids and along the margins of your eyes – it sounds odd but it’s quite common!

Patients report some (or all) of the following symptoms:

  • Red-rimmed eyes
  • ‘Crustiness’ on the eyelashes that lingers around their eyes during the day but more so on waking
  • Dryness and irritation of the eyes

You are more likely to experience blepharitis if you suffer from acne, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis and in some cases, subtle gut conditions including irritable bowel syndrome. The condition is likely to flare up at times, often more so in winter.


Treatment is easy and will include one or more of the following options depending on the severity of your condition

  • Eyelid cleaning with a pre-prepared tea-tree solution
  • Warm compresses to clean out inflamed eyelid glands
  • IPL to reduce inflammation of eyelid tissues

A close-up image of a brown eye, capturing fine details of the iris, eyelashes, and part of the surrounding skin.

What causes Glaucoma?

This is an eye condition that causes irreversible damage to the eye and 50% of people with glaucoma don’t know they have it.

Did you know?

If someone in your immediate family has glaucoma, then you are 10 times more likely to develop it in your lifetime.

What causes it?

The optic nerve is made up of approximately one million nerve fibres which connect the back of the eye to the brain. Damage to the optic nerve will result in irreversible damage to your eyesight. Nerve damage can occur from lack of blood flow, eye pressure that is too high or malnourishment.

What are the symptoms?

The most common type of glaucoma occurs in 90% of cases called Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG). Unfortunately, there are no symptoms for this condition as the damage progresses so slowly and starts with the peripheral vision. The early vision loss often goes unnoticed until there is a significant amount of irreversible damage.

Another type of glaucoma, Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma, causes severe eye pain as well as associated nausea, vomiting and headaches. There may also be a sudden onset of blurry vision or seeing halos around light. This is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.

How can I be checked?

Optiko optometrists will thoroughly assess your eyes for signs of glaucoma using instruments including

  • Tonometer. Historically this has been tested with the ‘puff of air’ test. At Optiko we now use an instrument that does not puff air into your eye. Instead, there is a very light ‘tickle’ sensation. Patients have remarked how much more comfortable this is.
  • Pachymeter. This will measure the thickness of the front window of the eye (cornea). A very thick or very thin cornea can affect the pressure readings.
  • Computerised Perimeter. Vision loss can be detected with this instrument. It involves testing each eye separately with an automated machine that flashes a series of lights in the periphery.
  • OCT (Ocular Coherence Tomographer). This instrument will measure the lining of the eye around the optic nerve which is an important marker in the assessment and diagnosis of early glaucoma.

For more information and support go to: https://glaucoma.org.au/

A man with short brown hair and a beard is wearing black-framed glasses and a black shirt, looking at the camera against a gray background.

What is astigmatism?

This is when the eye shape is more oval like a rugby or AFL ball than the more typical shape of a soccer ball. This means that patients need a stronger prescription through one meridian of the lens to make targets clear again.

How do I know if I have astigmatism?

Symptoms can include blurry vision when looking at near or far targets, headaches, eye fatigue or eye strain.
For accurate diagnosis, you require a comprehensive eye examination with your optometrist.

How can I treat astigmatism?

Treatments begin with simple eye exercises or low-prescription glasses to relieve tight eye muscles if the amount of astigmatism is low.
Higher levels of astigmatism will be prescribed glasses, soft contact lenses or custom made contact lenses to restore clarity.

Close-up image of the right eye of an older individual, showing detailed skin texture, wrinkles, and brown hair with some gray. The eye has a blue iris and visible reflection.

What is it like to have Macular Degeneration?

Are you over the age of 50?

Did you know that 1 in 7 people over the age of 50 have signs of macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a painless and progressive loss of central vision. In Australia, it is the cause of 50% of blindness and severe vision loss.

What is it like to have Macular Degeneration?

In the early stages, patients rarely notice any symptoms. As the disease progresses symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty reading or doing activities that require fine vision
  • Distortions (where straight lines are wavy)
  • Difficulty distinguishing faces
  • Permanent dark or blurred spot in the centre of vision

What can I do to protect myself?

Major benefits are seen when patients:

  • Stop smoking
  • Implement a regular exercise routine
  • Adopt an eye-healthy diet
  • Protect your eyes from the sun with sunglasses and a hat

For more information https://www.mdfoundation.com.au/