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Regular eye exams can detect diabetes
[Posted: Mon 14/11/2011 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
Many people in Ireland may have type 2 diabetes without being aware of it, however regular eye exams could help detect the condition, opticians have said.
Currently, over 190,000 people in Ireland have some sort of diabetes, with many more thought to be undiagnosed. One of the most serious complications of the condition is diabetic retinopathy, a disease of the eyes that can lead to blindness if left untreated.
"People with diabetes are 10 to 20 times more likely to go blind than someone without the condition, due to diabetic retinopathy. However, if this condition is detected early through an eye examination and treated, blindness can be prevented in 90% of cases," explained Noel Meehan, chairperson of optician group, Specsavers Ireland.
Opticians are trained to look out for signs of diabetes during regular eye examinations.
According to Kieran O'Leary, CEO of the Diabetes Federation of Ireland, it is ‘vital' that people with diabetes are diagnosed as early as possible ‘to help reduce their risk of developing complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and blindness'.
"A simple eye test can help with diagnosis," he said.
Mr O'Leary added that if people are found to have signs of diabetes during an eye exam, they should immediately visit their GP for a simple blood test to diagnose the condition.
Symptoms of diabetes include urinating more often than usual, especially at night, increased thirst, extreme tiredness, unexplained weight loss, slow healing of cuts and wounds and blurred vision.
Adults are recommended to have their eyes tested every two years and eye tests are free of charge for people with medical cards or those entitled to PRSI treatment benefit.
World Diabetes Day is being held today.
For more information on eye health, see Irishhealth.com's Eye Health Channel here
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