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Call for tests to detect diabetes

CLOSER LOOK Optometrist Steve Dando wants people to have more regular eye examinations to detect diabetes and complications its can cause.

CLOSER LOOK Optometrist Steve Dando wants people to have more regular eye examinations to detect diabetes and complications its can cause.

An optometrist has called for more regular eye examinations as the number of people with diabetes soars.

NHS figures highlighted by Diabetes UK show there was an 18 per cent increased in new cases during 2013 – the biggest increase since 2008.

It means six per cent of adults in the country are now diagnosed with diabetes.

Here in Kirklees more than 23,000 adults are diabetic and a further 9,000 are unaware they have the condition.

Steve Dando, of Openshaw Opticians in Cleckheaton, said: “Many people aren’t aware that we can detect early signs of [Type 2] diabetes through our exams and don’t realise how important early diagnosis is, so it’s vital that they have their eyes tested regularly.”

Kirklees’ Joint Strategic Needs Assessment 2013 named diabetes as one of the biggest health challenges facing people in the UK.

It said: “Locally [Type 2] diabetes is increasing because of rising obesity levels, an ageing population and a growing population of south Asian origin.

“Early identification of those at high risk of diabetes is paramount to enable early good diabetes control and avoid unnecessary complications.”

One potential complication is diabetic retinopathy, damage to cells at the back of the eye caused by high blood sugar levels. It can lead to blindness if left untreated.

Mr Dando said: “We are also able to treat most cases of diabetic retinopathy, so it is important that those with diabetes have their eyes examined soon after diagnosis so we can warn of any early signs of impact.

“Diabetes does not necessarily affect your eyes but there is a higher risk that you can lose your sight. 
“You may not realise anything is wrong at first, so regular checks are vital.”

The number of people with diabetes in Kirklees is expected to rise to reach almost one in ten by 2030.

 

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