BBR Optometry is supporting Diabetes Awareness Week 2017 which runs until Saturday, June 17 by reminding patients and members of the local community about the importance of regular eye examinations in preventing unavoidable sight loss.
The theme for this year’s campaign, run by Diabetes UK, is ‘Know Diabetes Fight Diabetes’ which aims to ensure people understand how best to manage it.
One of the complications that can arise from diabetes is a condition called diabetic retinopathy that can result in severe sight loss if left undetected and untreated.
BBR’s Clinical 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.
“Here at BBR we are also urging all patients diagnosed with diabetes or at greater risk of diabetes, to attend regular eye examinations to prevent any sight-related complications from the disease.
“Retinopathy frequently has no symptoms until it is well advanced and you may not be aware of changes to the retina until your vision has been impaired so screening will not only detect the condition early but also increase the chances of minimal and more effective treatment.
“We use 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,” she added.
For further information about retinal screening at BBR Optometry please read our dedicated pages on advanced retinal imaging or find out more about Diabetes Awareness Week here.