PEOPLE who are unaware that they have diabetes could be endangering their sight.
That’s the warning from Specsavers in Ellesmere Port, who are urging borough residents to make sure they have an eye test at least every two years.
Official figures revealed by Diabetes UK show that the number of people diagnosed with the condition has soared by 50% in just 12 months, representing one new sufferer every three minutes.
And there are more than half-a-million people who are unaware they may have Type 2 diabetes, which in turn could be putting their sight at serious risk.
Patricia Sheehan, store director at Specsavers in the town, said: “Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the UK’s working-age population.
“People with diabetes are 20 times more at risk of going blind than someone without the condition.
“Up to 40% of the 2.5m people in the UK who currently suffer from diabetes have some degree of optical damage known as retinopathy.
“However, if retinopathy is detected early and treated adequately, blindness can be prevented in 90% of cases.”
She added: “An eye examination can detect the onset of diabetes among people who don't even realise they have it, which is why we are urging everyone to have a sight test at least every two years.
“All optometrists are trained to spot signs of diabetes during a regular eye examination and Specsavers has more than 2,000 optometrists carrying out nearly six million eye tests a year.
“Eye tests are free under the NHS to the over 60s and those under 19 in full-time education, as well as to people already diagnosed with diabetes.”
Over the last two years, Specsavers has nationally raised more than £300,000 for Diabetes UK.
The funds raised will go towards vital research and setting up community outreach projects.
To book an eye appointment or find your local store, call 0800 0680 241 or visit www.specsavers.co.uk.