We kicked off last week with a VIDA Insight about ‘Tunnel Vision’, a term used when someone only has central vision or has little or no peripheral vision. Well, this week, and in line with Diabetes Awareness Week (12 – 18 June), we thought that we should talk about the effects this condition can cause – blotchy vision. This is a result of having Diabetic Retinopathy, one of the effects of Diabetes. Blotchy vision can also be caused by Retinal Telangiectasia, another sight condition that Dave has.
The term ‘blotchy vision’ is used to describe when someone is experiencing spots or dark strings floating in their vision. These are commonly known as floaters. Other symptoms can be blurred areas, fluctuating vision, impaired colour vision, dark or empty areas or in some severe cases, complete vision loss.
It's caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina) or, in the case of Telangiectasia, having weak or abnormal blood vessels that haemorrhage allowing blood to enter in to the eye and ‘float’ around.
For people with Diabetic Retinopathy, these symptoms, not only hinder you doing standard daily tasks, but are a sign that your blood sugar levels are not being managed correctly. Other causes could be from a knock to the head, whiplash, or from experiencing high g-forces (rollercoaster rides, bungee jumping, etc).
Although most people with ‘floaters’ can function normally, the moving spots can cause problems with completing some tasks depending on where and how big the floaters are. Also, as they move around, this may mean that you won’t be able to do something that you may have done earlier that day.
In a lot of cases, the floaters will naturally disperse over time with no long term damage; however, people are advised, even if there are no current symptoms, to have regular eye tests with a specialist.
A good resource that we often mention on our training is the RNIB’s #HowISee campaign of short video clips highlighting the different impacts people’s different vision impairments have on them. RNIB (www.rnib.org.uk) also have a range of booklets about different sight conditions.
The NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk) has lots of information about sight conditions.
A good resource for further information, advice and news can be found at Diabetes UK (https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-complications/diabetic-retinopathy.html).
It is important to mention that having floaters doesn’t mean that you have either of the above mentioned conditions. Floaters are very common but it is advised to have your eyes tested if you do experience them just to double check.
And just for information, there is a two part programme on ITV called The Fast Fix: Diabetes. This relates to diet and type 2 diabetes. It’s on this evening and tomorrow (13th and 14th June). As its not aired yet, we have no idea what it will be like and I’m always slightly sceptical of anything labelled ‘Fast Fix’ but it may be worth a watch.
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
Interested to learn more about VIDA Training? Read about our Training and Consultancy packages, specialising in Vision Impairment and Disability Awareness, Communication and Team Building or contact us for further information.
Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.