It’s World Diabetes Day and Frankie – who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes aged 15 – talks about the importance of regular eye screening.

People with diabetes are at risk of developing Diabetic Retinopathy which is caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye (retina). If left undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to sight loss. 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 Diabetic Retinopathy.

Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable sight loss in the UK and, furthermore, Diabetes makes you 1.5x more likely to get glaucoma and 2x more likely to get cataracts. Both can lead to blindness.

To minimise the risk of developing Diabetic Retinopathy, diabetics should:

  • Ensure that they control their blood sugars and try and not have high blood sugars all the time.
  • Attend diabetic eye screening appointments – annual screening is offered to all people with diabetics aged 12 or over to ensure that if they pick up and treat any problems early on.

If you would like to find out what’s involved with Diabetic Eye Screening, watch this short video by David Abdy who has Type 1 Diabetes:

The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has more than doubled in the last twenty years, according to analysis by Diabetes UK. The figures show that there are now almost 3.7 million people living with a diagnosis of the condition in the UK, an increase of 1.9 million since 1998.

In 2014, the prevalence of Diabetic Retinopathy was 54.6% in people with Type 1 diabetes and 30.0% in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Useful links:

www.nhft.nhs.uk/diabetic-eye-screening-programme

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/