Alastair Wade

Member Article

Optometrist encourages diabetes eye tests

At the start of 2014 National Diabetes Week, a North East optometrist is highlighting the importance of having an eye examination to detect the life-limiting condition.

Alastair Wade says people who don’t get regular eye tests are putting their eye-sight at risk because the examination can detect diabetes at an early stage before it causes further complications.

His comments follow recent figures released by the NHS which reveal that the number of people in the UK who suffer from diabetes has increased for the first time since 2008, with 3.2 million now diagnosed with the condition.

However, an even more worrying statistic is that a further 850,000 people may have diabetes without knowing it. Speaking at the start of National Diabetes Week (8th to 14th June),

Mr Wade, who runs Wade Opticians in Durham, Prudhoe, Ryton and Lanchester, says: “Five million people in the UK can’t remember, or believe it’s been more than ten years since they had an eye examination.

“This is a worrying statistic, particularly when you compare it to the number of people whose diabetes remains undiagnosed.

“Changes in blood sugar levels resulting from diabetes can damage the tiny blood vessels that supply the retina in the eye, known as retinopathy, so in a lot of cases the first sign that someone has diabetes is found during an eye examination.”

Diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough of the hormone “insulin” or because the insulin that is produced has a reduced effect. Insulin regulates the way the body uses the food eaten. If people have diabetes their body cannot cope in the usual way with sugar and other carbohydrates that they eat.

There are two main types of diabetes, type 1, which normally occurs before the age of 30, and type 2. Both can be life-threatening if not treated and managed.

The main symptoms of diabetes common to both types are feeling very thirsty, urinating frequently, particularly at night, feeling very tired, weight loss and blurred vision.

Mr Wade added: “Diabetes can cause glaucoma and cataracts and is the leading cause of blindness in the UK’s working-age population, so if people are in any doubt they should make an appointment with their GP and visit their Optometrist.”

As part of National Diabetes Week, Wade Opticians is offering free eye examinations to all diabetics.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Neil Shaefer .

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