This World Diabetes Day (14 November), Specsavers in York and Acomb offered diabetes screenings as part of every eye test.
The stores, located on Low Ousegate in York and Front Street in Acomb, provided digital retinal photography which can detect indicators of the condition for all customers. The initiative came after research has shown that one in five adults are unaware that opticians can check for signs of wider health conditions, including diabetes.
Deryk Watts, Specsavers store director in Acomb, said: ‘Screening to ensure the early detection of type two diabetes is a particular priority given the reported rise in the condition. People with diabetes are 25 times more at risk of going blind than someone without the condition and early detection of any problems can be crucial in helping to prevent blindness. Regular eye examinations are also essential when it comes to detection, a full eye test can pick up a range of indicators which can be a sign of diabetes.’
Digital retinal photography takes a photograph of the back of the eye – the only part of the body where the microcirculation of blood can be directly observed. It is already included as standard part of an eye test at Specsavers for all patients over 40 and when otherwise deemed necessary by the optician.
The Specsavers initiative on diabetes coincided with a new campaign launched by the International Diabetes Federation called ‘Eyes on Diabetes’. The project is designed to highlight poor vision as a key symptom of the condition and raise awareness that it can, if not treated correctly, lead to blindness.
Deryk added: ‘Reducing the risk of diabetes can be simple. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and cutting down on salt, fat and sugar are all essential. Regular exercise can also stimulate blood flow, and there is also a direct link between diabetic retinopathy and obesity, so losing weight can also help.’