Diabetes sufferers urged to get their eyes checked

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An optometrist from Kettering is urging people with diabetes in Northamptonshire to get regular sight checks to avoid a complication of the condition which can cause blindness.

The call from Dan Callaghan of the Kettering branch of Davis Optometrists comes ahead of World Diabetes Day, which is on Wednesday, November 14.

Davis Optometrists has also released a free educational factsheet entitled ‘Diabetes and Vision’ to help raise awareness of the eye conditions associated with diabetes, how to recognise them, the treatment available and how to ensure these conditions are prevented or managed successfully.

High blood sugar increases the risk of eye problems from diabetes.

One of the main conditions is diabetic retinopathy, which is caused by irregularities in the blood vessels at the back of the eye and leads to blurred vision and blind spots.

It is the leading cause of blindness in people under the age of 65.

Mr Callaghan said: “The most common ways in which diabetes affects eyes is diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and possibly Glaucoma.

“People with diabetes are at risk of retinopathy because diabetes can cause small blood vessels, like those found in the eye, to become blocked or sometimes to leak.

“It can cause blindness but fortunately simple annual screening can check if someone with diabetes is developing retinopathy, and if caught early, treatment can prevent severe vision loss in 90 per cent of cases.”

Diabetic retinopathy is more common in older people.

Professor Alan Sinclair, director of the Institute of Diabetes for Older People, said: “Diabetic retinopathy can be a very progressive condition and recent data suggest that the prevalence has doubled in those aged 65 years and over.

“This can be a major influence on quality of life when it is associated with visual loss and may be particularly worrying for those residents with diabetes and visual loss in care homes.”

Copies of the factsheets can be picked up at the branch and are also available to GP surgeries, community groups and charities in the district.

For a copy of the factsheet email info@davisopticians.co.uk.