Of course it's not going to be accepted as great news when your doctor announces you have diabetes. And while, yes, it's a chronic, incurable condition, the prognosis is not all that bad, provided you make the necessary lifestyle changes required to effectively manage your condition.
Your doctor will presumably make a number of suggestions (and you should really consider these suggestions to be orders for the sake of your health). If they tell you that you should consult an optometrist, this really is non-negotiable. Uncontrolled diabetes can have a detrimental effect on your vision, although this effect can be greatly mitigated by regular assessments, catching any issues before they become too problematic, allowing you and your healthcare team to take the necessary preventative action.
So how can your vision be affected by your diabetes?
Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in your retina. Located in the back your eye, if the damage to your retina becomes too great, you might experience a slow degradation in vision. In extreme cases, this can even result in blindness. This condition is known as diabetic retinopathy. While the onset of diabetic retinopathy is generally more of a concern for those who have been living with diabetes for an extended period of time, this still might apply to you if your doctor suspects that your diabetes was undiagnosed for some years.
Recommending a Schedule
The frequency with which you should visit an optician is something that will generally be determined by your doctor, but an optometrist might also recommend a schedule depending on the results of their assessment. They can spot the early signs of diabetic retinopathy, allowing you to take evasive action. This might involve further dietary changes or prescription medication.
You shouldn't hesitate to schedule your own appointment with your optometrist if you have any concerns outside of the predetermined appointment schedule. Your vision might unexpectedly become blurry (or seem to fluctuate), changes to your field of vision (where your peripheral vision seems to diminish), or even unexplained flashes to your vision. These might be early signs that your diabetes is affecting your vision, but they might have a different cause altogether. When you have diabetes, the important thing is to not delay in seeking treatment when confronted with these issues.
With careful management, your diabetes shouldn't have an adverse effect on your vision, but you might find that regular consultations with an optometrist form a vital part of your management plan.