If you have diabetes and are considering laser eye surgery, you may be wondering whether it’s a safe and viable option.
The good news is that, with advances in technology and medical practices, laser treatment is now a more realistic option for people with a range of eye problems.
However, diabetes can increase the risk of complications during and after the procedure, so it’s important to weigh the benefits against the potential risks.
Can I Have Laser Eye Surgery If I Have Diabetes?
The short answer is yes. People who have diabetes can have laser treatment.
Your surgeon will want to make sure that your diabetes is under control before putting you through any type of procedure whilst also making sure that you’re not suffering from more advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy either.
These checks are to keep you as safe as possible, so being open and honest with the laser treatment team will ensure that your procedure goes as smoothly as possible.
Complications For Diabetics Considering Laser Treatment
Although many people who have diabetes have laser surgery with great success, there are some important factors to consider before deciding if treatment is for you.
High Blood Sugar Levels
You’ll need to have stable blood sugar levels to be considered for laser treatment.
Your GP will be able to provide you with confirmation that you have had stable blood sugar levels over a period of time to show to the laser treatment team.
If you have unstable sugar levels, laser eye treatment may not have the desired results.
Slower Healing Rate
If you have diabetes you’ll know that the healing process for your body takes longer. Things such as cuts and grazes typically take longer to heal, and it’s the same after having any type of procedure done.
Your eyes will take longer to heal due to the impact that diabetes has on blood vessels and nerves, so bear this in mind if you’re considering going for laser treatment.
Your laser eye surgeon will be able to discuss this with you in more detail and may have an alternative option that can help reduce the recovery time.
Your eye prescription can change depending on your blood sugar levels, so if you’re experiencing unstable blood sugars then it may be recommended that you wait until they are more stable.
Your blood sugars may fluctuate during your assessment and treatment periods, and therefore the treatment may not work as effectively.
More information on potential complications from this can be provided during your assessment.
Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication caused by increased blood sugar levels which causes damage to the blood vessels and to the retina within the back of the eye.
Diabetic retinopathy can impact your vision and can lead to long-term vision problems if not treated. It is therefore important that you have the appropriate advice and guidance on whether you need treatment for diabetic retinopathy before going ahead with laser eye treatment.
How to Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy?
In order to keep your eyes healthy and prevent vision loss in the future, there are two main steps to follow:
- Keep your blood sugar levels under control. Follow the treatment plan given to you by your GP and raise any concerns immediately.
- Attend regular eye checkups. These are arranged annually and can flag up any issues quickly which can allow prompt and effective treatment.
Laser Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
Treatment for diabetic retinopathy usually takes place during the advanced stages.
Advanced diabetic retinopathy requires specific treatment, and it is different than the conventional laser treatment that non-diabetic patients would receive.
Laser treatment works to slow down the process of sight loss but does not improve the vision from the stage it is already at.
It is a quick process, usually takes less than 1 hour, and is pain-free, although slightly uncomfortable.
The Bottom Line
Living with diabetes means taking extra precautions, and this is no different when it comes to laser surgery.
It’s vital that you are aware of what type of treatment you require as the specific treatment used for diabetic retinopathy is different from traditional laser treatment.
You should ask for advice and guidance both from your GP and your laser treatment team to ensure you are well-informed of the treatment options available.
Laser eye surgery is available for people living with diabetes, and many people go through the process each year to get rid of their glasses and contact lenses for good.
Here at Focus, we care about keeping you safe and achieving the best results for you. Our expert team are on hand to guide you through the process and will advise you on the best options for you, the possible complications and side effects and how to make the most out of your recovery period.