Specsavers in Longton is one of a number of opticians who are able to provide diabetic retinal screening. The store screens more than 1400 people with diabetes to look for early signs of diabetic changes that could lead to reduced vision if left untreated.
‘Regular screening is really important for those with diabetes’, said store director and optometrist Judy Lea. ‘Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the UK's working-age population – but if conditions are diagnosed and managed in time then blindness can be prevented in 90 per cent of cases. The screening looks for early signs of potential complications of diabetes in the eye that could cause visual problems if they are not treated.’
Free digital retinal screening
Specsavers Longton, and all accredited optometrists working for the Staffordshire Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Service, offer free digital retinal screening to all people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, who are aged 12 years and over. When registered as diabetic by the GP, invites are sent to attend screening from the Staffordshire Diabetic Screening service. This examination involves dilating the pupil of the eye with drops (called Tropicamide) and taking detailed photographs of the blood vessels at the back of the eye. This can involve you being in the store for up to an hour and means you cannot drive for up to four hours after the test. Sunglasses can help with light sensitivity due to the pupil being large after the drops have been instilled.
If you have signs of diabetes, Diabetes UK recommends that you visit your GP for a simple blood test which can diagnose the condition. The symptoms of diabetes include going to the toilet (urinating) more often and especially at night, increased thirst, extreme tiredness, unexplained weight loss, slow healing of cuts and wounds and blurred vision, which can be intermittent.