To mark Diabetes Awareness Week, Specsavers in the Intu Centre are on a mission to ensure customers are aware of the sight-loss implications of the disease, and how their investment in some of the most advanced optical technology provides a comprehensive check without the price tag.
A devastating disease
Diabetes can be a devastating condition if not diagnosed in time or managed effectively. Sufferers can remain undiagnosed for up to 10 years, meaning 50% of people will have developed a complication by the time the condition is spotted.
There are two main types of the condition. Type 2, which is often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle, accounts for the vast majority of people who have the condition, and as many as one million may be unaware they have it.
In the UK, within 20 years of diagnosis, nearly all people with Type 1 and almost two thirds of people with Type 2 diabetes have some degree of eye damage as a result of their diabetes.
‘It’s a disease that not many people associate with sight loss,’ said Derby store director Uan Gohil. ‘However, people with diabetes are 10 to 20 times more likely to go blind than someone without the condition, due to a form of optical damage known as diabetic retinopathy.
‘However, if retinopathy is detected early through an eye examination and treated, blindness can be prevented in 90% of cases.’
This year’s Diabetes UK campaign focuses around the theme: Know Diabetes. Fight Diabetes. In support of this, Specsavers in Derby are raising awareness of the important role of the optometrist in the fight against diabetes.
One in five adults are unaware that optometrists can check for signs of wider health conditions, including diabetes, according to research by Specsavers. It has been shown that early detection is key as those with the condition are 25 times more at risk of going blind.
‘We want to highlight the fact that just a simple check can have a huge effect in picking up signs of this disease,’ continued Uan. ‘Early detection of type 2 diabetes is a particular priority given the reported rise in the condition. A full eye test today can pick up a range of indicators which can be a sign of diabetes. Early detection of any problems can be crucial in helping to prevent blindness.
‘We have the latest technology so that we can perform digital retinal photography – which can detect indicators of diabetes - as part of every eye test.’
Technology to spot signs
Specsavers in Derby have invested heavily in the latest optical technology, called Optical Coherence Technology (OCT) which employs digital retinal photography to help optometrists spot signs of diabetic eye changes
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.
Unlike many opticians in the area, Specsavers in Derby offers this technology at no extra cost as a standard part of an eye test for all patients.
‘We are one of a handful of opticians to have this technology and we think the only practice in the region which includes the scan as part of a routine eye test,’ said Uan. ‘We would like to encourage locals to take advantage of this and ensure they have regular tests as part of their regular health routine.’
 Diabetic eye disease: A UK Incidence and Prevalence Study, Author: Rohini Mathur et al. (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Publisher: RNIB, Year of Publication: 2017
 State of the Nation’s Eye Health, Specsavers/ RNIB 2016 http://www.rnib.org.uk/sites/default/files/RNIB-State-of-the-Nation-2016-AC.PDF