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Diabetics mind your eyesight


A blood glucose monitor as used by diabetics

A blood glucose monitor as used by diabetics

A blood glucose monitor as used by diabetics

Around five people in Ireland go blind every week and often the complications of diabetes are to blame.

People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. It affects the small blood vessels in the lining at the back of the eye.

A national programme offering free screening has been in place for some time and more than 70,000 diabetics have been tested for the condition so far at around 80 centres across the country.

More than 700 new patients are registering for the programme every month said David Keegan, clinical director of DiabeticRetina Screen.

"It is a very positive development that greater numbers are consenting to be involved in the programme, which aims to prevent vision impairment and blindness due to diabetic retinopathy.

"It is a common complication of diabetes. Equity of access for people living all over the country remains a priority of the programme," he told the annual meeting of the Irish College of Opthalmologists.

He said the patient may have no symptoms and he urged people with diabetes to make an appointment. When the condition is caught early, treatment is effective at reducing or preventing damage to sight. Treatment is provided free of charge as part of the programme. For more information or to find out if you are on the register, call Freephone 1800 45 45 55 or visit www.diabeticretinascreen.ie.

Health & Living