The importance of regular screenings for retinopathy

13 November 2017

BBR Optometry is supporting World Diabetes Day on 14th November by reminding patients and members of the local community about the importance of regular eye examinations in preventing avoidable sight loss.

People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing retinopathy, an eye disease caused by damage to the retina that if left untreated can lead to blindness. 

Retinopathy frequently has no symptoms until it is well advanced and some may not be aware of changes to the retina until vision has been impaired. Screening will not only detect the condition early but also increase the chances of minimal and more effective treatment.

For this reason, BBR is urging all patients diagnosed with diabetes or at greater risk of diabetes, to attend regular eye examinations to help prevent any sight-related complications from the disease. 

BBR’s linical lead, Suzanne Wadsworth, says: “Diabetic retinopathy is caused by high levels of glucose and fats in the blood which damage the small blood vessels that nourish the tissue and nerve cells in the retina.

“This can cause the blood vessels to weaken and sometimes leak fluid, affecting an individual’s eyesight and, in more serious cases, may lead to blindness if left untreated.”

In just one day alone some 65 people will die early from diabetes and hundreds more will face life-changing complications that could have been avoided or delayed if they'd had the right knowledge and support to manage their diabetes.

More than one third of adults with the condition will develop some form of diabetic retinopathy but it is preventable in more than 90% of individuals who undergo regular screening.

“The Hereford community is fortunate to have its own screening scheme that complies with the National Screening Framework. Under this, all patients with diabetes are routinely invited to undergo annual screening to assess their risk of diabetic retinopathy.” Suzanne adds.

BBR uses the latest retinal examination equipment, including Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and OPTOS wide field scanning laser ophthalmoscopy, which not only ensures early diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy but also other conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and optic nerve disease.

For further information about retinal screening at BBR Optometry please read our dedicated pages on advanced retinal imaging.

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