A local Marston Green man is encouraging other diabetics to make use of the NHS national eye screening programme, as a vital tool in the fight against diabetic retinopathy and sight loss.

Preventative action

In 2013, 50-year-old stores controller Phil Sterland-Robb was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes after having a regular blood test. Following his diagnosis, Phil’s GP referred him to his local opticians to take part in the national screening programme - the primary tool in reducing risk of visual loss through preventative action.

Diabetic retinopathy, which is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, is one of the most common causes of sight loss among the working age population in the UK and all diabetics are at risk. As symptoms are not always noticeable, screening can detect the condition early on to enable treatment to begin.

No idea

‘I had no idea that sight loss and diabetes were at all linked,’ said Phil. ‘Diabetes runs in my family so I’ve always been mindful of regular blood tests, but didn’t appreciate the importance of regular diabetic screening.’

At his appointment at Specsavers in Chelmsley Wood, Phil was seen by Abbie Carter, one of the diabetic screeners at Specsavers, and his results were sent on to Heartlands Hospital for grading.

Work closely with Heartlands Hospital

Specsavers Chelmsley Wood store director, Sukhwant Drake explained: ‘We offer this screening service as part of the Birmingham, Solihull and Black Country Diabetic Eye Screening programme so we work closely with Heartlands Hospital and other accredited opticians in the area.

‘Phil’s results came back clear and he continues to visit annually for diabetic screening to monitor and manage his diabetes. Each test he’s had has come back with positive results and he’s not experienced any related conditions, which is a great outcome!


‘Diabetic retinopathy doesn’t usually cause any noticeable symptoms in the early stages, so it’s really important that anyone suffering from diabetes undergoes regular screening to detect the condition as early as possible. In most cases, an early diagnosis can be the difference between saving your sight and losing it.’

Phil added: ‘I would urge anyone suffering from diabetes to undergo yearly screens to help manage the disease. Knowing that my results are clear each year and that I am managing my diabetes is great peace of mind.’

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