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Diabetic sight loss cut by screening, research shows

Diabetic sight loss cut by screening, research shows
From BBC - July 25, 2017

The proportion of diabetics who go blind or suffer sight loss has almost halved since a new national retinopathy screening programme started in 2007.

Swansea University research over eight years has now been published in the British Medical Journal.

New certifications for severe sight impairment have fallen from 31.3 to 15.8 per 100,000 people.

Diabetics aged over 12 are offered annual screening and health experts said the study shows a "clear benefit".

Retinopathy is damage to the retina in the back of the eye and is a complication which can affect people with diabetes. Persistent high levels of glucose can lead to eye damage.

The research shows:

However, 20% of those offered the screening - which began in 2003 and was rolled out across Wales by 2007 - do not take it up.

Dr Quentin Sandifer, medical director of Public Health Wales, said: "We would encourage people living with diabetes to take up the offer when they receive their invitation.

"This is a great example of the NHS working together to improve outcomes for our population and is especially impressive as sight loss has reduced even through the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in Wales has increased over this time."

WHAT IS DIABETES?

People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin. No-one knows exactly what causes it, but it is not to do with being overweight and it is not currently preventable. It usually affects children or young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly. Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses, a healthy diet and regular physical activity.

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