Eyes on diabetes for annual awareness day

Post on 14th November 2016

Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges of our age.

Some 3.5 million people are diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and an estimated 549,000 people have the condition, but don’t know it.

World Diabetes Day on 14 November will take ‘Eyes on Diabetes’ as its theme to promote the importance of screening to ensure early diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes and treatment to reduce the risk of serious complications.

Diabetes in the UK kills 65 people every day. It causes blindness and kidney disease, heart failure, strokes and lower limb amputations.

Such disturbing statistics underline the need to make lifestyle changes with a healthy diet and exercise.

A comprehensive eye examination can detect the early signs of diabetes because the eyes say much about your general health as well as your vision.

Around 30% of diabetics will develop diabetic retinopathy, which if left undetected could lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy – damage to the back of the eye (retina) – is treatable, but it has to be picked up first.

A simple eye test can not only detect conditions such as diabetic retinopathy but also diabetes itself. It highlights the importance of having regular eye tests as there is so much that can be done to treat the conditions if diagnosed in the early stages.

People with diabetes should be screened in the UK once each year for retinopathy. A photograph is taken of the eye which allows the specialists to spot any signs of damage that may be present.

Screening appointments mean the signs can be spotted well in advance of symptoms developing. In the early stages of retinopathy, no treatment is needed but it’s recommended that patients keep good control of their blood sugar levels by watching the foods they eat, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.

If you are concerned about your eye health, visit your nearest Scrivens branch for advice.