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Optical | Health and expertise | Press release | Don’t turn a blind eye to diabetes, warns opticians

Don’t turn a blind eye to diabetes, warns opticians

21 february 2018

Press release

THIS Diabetes Day (14 November) Specsavers is warning of the risk of blindness linked to the condition and is urging people to get their eyes checked.
 
Diabetes affects an estimated 4.6 million people in the UK[1], yet 40% of the British public are unaware that blindness is one of diabetes’ biggest complications[2].
 
Those suffering with diabetes are up to 20 times more likely to lose their sight than those without the condition[3] which is why Specsavers is raising the importance of having your eyes tested.
 
Research from Specsavers and its charity partner the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) shows one in five adults are unaware that opticians can check for indicators of the condition[4].
Dr Nigel Best, Specsavers clinical spokesperson,  says: ‘An estimated 1 million people in the UK[5] are living with the condition without even realising it – meaning they’re at huge risk of developing serious eye health complications and even sight loss.
 
‘Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health conditions today – fuelled by record levels of obesity, excessive sugar consumption and sedentary lifestyles. If we continue to turn a blind eye to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as a result, we can only expect to see the number of undiagnosed cases escalate.’
 
Research supported by RNIB reveals that London, Manchester and Liverpool are among the UK cities at greatest risk of blindness due to diabetic retinopathy[6].
Dr Best adds: ‘Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness among people of working age in the UK[7] so it’s hugely important that diabetes is detected early and monitored correctly to avoid furthering the risks.
‘At Specsavers, we offer digital retinal photography for free as part of a standard eye test for customers aged over 40. This takes a detailed picture of the back of your eye and the microcirculation of blood – helping to highlight indicators of diabetes that need addressing.’
 
Top 10 UK cities for diabetes and diabetic retinopathy prevalence
 
City Estimated number of people living with diabetic retinopathy (2015) Estimated number of adults with diabetes (2016)
London Boroughs 173,110 465,970
Greater Manchester 54,070 163,430
Merseyside 27,810 88,090
Birmingham 21,110 59,790
Leeds 15,240 44,390
Glasgow City 12,260 34,740
Sheffield 11,250 33,060
City of Edinburgh 10,250 29,660
Bradford 10,060 30,450
Bristol 8,940 24,000
 
For further information or took book an eye test visit: https://www.specsavers.co.uk/
 
[1] https://www.diabetes.org.uk/resources-s3/2017-11/diabetes_in_the_uk_2010.pdf
[2] https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/over-40-of-people-unaware-diabetes-can-lead-to-blindness-
[3] https://www.diabetes.org.uk/resources-s3/2017-11/diabetes_in_the_uk_2010.pdf
[5] https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news_landing_page/one-million-people-in-uk-unaware-they-have-type-2-diabetes
[6] R. Mathur et al (2017), Diabetic eye disease: A UK Incidence and Prevalence Study. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. RNIB. 2014 based projections ONS 2016 Subnational Population Projections. Sight loss data tool 2018, RNIB, available at RNIB.org.uk/datatool