Sight for sore eyes

A DIABETIC screening service has proved its worth after the sight of 19 people has been saved in a year.In the first twelve months of the screening service run by Suffolk West Primary Care Trust 19 people were found to have 'proliferative diabetic retinopathy', which can result in blindness if left untreated.

A DIABETIC screening service has proved its worth after the sight of 19 people has been saved in a year.

In the first twelve months of the screening service run by Suffolk West Primary Care Trust 19 people were found to have 'proliferative diabetic retinopathy', which can result in blindness if left untreated.

More than 5,000 patients were screened during the first year and five per cent of those were referred to a consultant ophthalmologist for further investigation.

Diabetic retinopathy can cause haemorrhaging at the back of the eye which leads to blindness.

The 19 people spotted were unaware that they had the condition and have now been treated.

Another 71 per cent were found to have no diabetic retinopathy and 21 per cent had a mild form.

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Richard Dewhirst, head of the service said: "It is important that we identify people with mild diabetic retinopathy so that we can monitor them and make sure their condition does not deteriorate.

"The condition is reversible if proper attention is paid to diet and blood sugar levels."

Key to the service is a state-of-the-art digital camera which takes photographs of the retina, the light-sensitive membrane at the back of the eye. These images are carefully looked at to determine whether there are any changes to the retina as a result of diabetes.

Diabetes is the single biggest cause of preventable blindness in the working age population of the UK and people with the condition are recommended to have their eyes screened every year.

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