Diabetes is a serious condition which can affect us in many ways. Often, people with diabetes don’t get any symptoms which means it can take up to 10 years before they are diagnosed. But if it is left untreated it can cause damage to the heart, kidneys, eyes and feet.
World Diabetes Day
Those suffering from diabetes are up to 20 times more likely to lose their sight than those without the condition. However, only one in five adults are aware that their optician can detect the signs through a regular eye test. That is why, this World Diabetes Day (Thursday, 14 November) Specsavers is raising awareness of the importance of having regular eye tests.
Dr Nigel Best, Specsavers clinical spokesperson, says: ‘In Ireland, it is estimated that there are well over 200,000 type 2 diabetics and a further 100,000 people who have high blood glucose levels who are undiagnosed because they have not exhibited complications – 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.’
A complication of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy which can occur when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the back of the eye. If left untreated it can cause blindness. Dr Best adds: ‘Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness among people of working age in Ireland so it’s hugely important that diabetes is detected early and monitored correctly to minimise the risk of avoidable sight loss.At Specsavers, we offer digital retinal photography free of charge as part of a standard eye test for customers aged over 40. This takes a detailed picture of the back of your eye allowing the blood vessels to be monitored more closely – helping to detect any signs of diabetes that might be present.’
Specsavers recommend everyone should get an eye test once every two years. To find out more or book your next appointment, visit your nearest Specsavers store.