Contact lens fittings can detect diabetes

While shopping for contact lenses online is a convenient and a great way to get your favourite brand of contact lenses for less, it is important to remember to have an annual eye checkup or if it is the first time you are going to wear contacts your eyes need to be examined and measured so that you can get the correct prescription.

Raising public awareness

Even if your vision is perfect, it is advisable to have a comprehensive eye checkup, especially once you reach the age of 40, because having an eye test is one way of discovering or detecting early signs of diabetes.

In New Zealand there has been an annual public awareness campaign since 2002 called Save Our Sight, which aims to educate and inform the public as to the importance of having a comprehensive annual eye check up as part of maintaining good health, especially as other diseases such as hypertension can also be detected with an eye exam.

Diabetes – what is it all about?

The medical profession has been sounding the alarm for some time about the global pandemic caused by diabetes. In simple terms, diabetes means the body is unable to control blood sugar levels resulting in too much sugar in the blood. The resulting list of complications that can arise from diabetes is long and frightening but it can damage the eyes, kidneys, and the nerves to mention just some of the problems.

The World Health Organization estimates that a staggering 300 million globally will have diabetes by the year 2025. The cost of this both in direct costs to health care systems and indirect costs in lost productivity, not to mention the loss of life are hard to quantify precisely but will run into the billions of dollars.

Silent enemy

The danger with Type 2 diabetes, sometimes also referred to as late-onset diabetes, is that if the level of glucose is not so high, you may not realize that you have the disease in the first place. But it can start to cause damage to your body and your eyes even if you are unaware that you have the disease.

While having a blood test is important to determine if you have diabetes, an eye test can also reveal the signs of the disease. The eye is the only part of the body where the blood vessels are visible, and diabetes may cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina.


For all diabetics, monitoring glucose levels is vital – but it is often unpleasant too as it involves pricking your finger to get a drop of blood to test. Interestingly, Google have been developing a project that would enable contact lens wearers to monitor their lenses through smart contact lenses that measure the glucose level in tears.

Your vision is important so whether you wear lenses, glasses or have perfect vision, taking a few minutes once a year to have your eyes tested could actually save your life and not just your vision.

More information

For more detailed information about diabetes, visit Diabetes New Zealand

2015-07-01T07:00:24+00:00 Eye Health, Uncategorized|