Bringing causes of preventable blindness into focus

PUBLISHED: 14:16 11 June 2014

Specsavers in Honiton lends its support to National Glaucoma Awareness week and Diabetes Week and will be offering free eye care advice.

Specsavers in Honiton is encouraging residents to become more aware of their eye health by bringing leading causes of preventable blindness into focus.

It is lending its support to both National Glaucoma Awareness week (9 - 15 June) and Diabetes Week (8 - 14 June).

Throughout the week, Specsavers, located at 121 High Street, will be offering free eye care advice and raising awareness of the importance of regular examinations in detecting non-eye related conditions such as diabetes.

Jonathan Baumber, the store director at Specsavers Honiton, said: “Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the UK’s working-age population. People with diabetes are 10 to 20 times more likely to go blind, due to a condition known as diabetic retinopathy.

“However, if retinopathy is detected early through an eye examination and treated, blindness can be prevented in 90 per cent of cases. This is one of the reasons why we recommend an eye examination every two years.

“Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness among adults in the UK. The condition is serious but in the majority of cases it is treatable as long as it is detected early enough through regular eye examinations.

“Anyone over the age of 40 with a first degree relative who suffers from glaucoma is entitled to an NHS eye examination in-store as their chance of developing the condition is increased. People of African-Caribbean origin are also four times more likely to develop the condition than those of European origin so it is important that they are aware of this risk and attend regular eye examinations.

“We firmly support National Glaucoma Week and would urge everyone to take care of their eye health, especially if they are at higher risk of developing the condition.”

The most common type of glaucoma, chronic open-angle glaucoma, affects about 480,000 people in the UK. It is a condition which develops slowly and detecting it early can save sight, with over 90 per cent of individuals diagnosed early retaining a reasonable level of sight for life.

The Glaucoma Association estimates that over 50 per cent of cases of glaucoma remain undetected in the UK.

Collectively Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes affect 2.9million people in the UK and if left undetected or not managed effectively can lead to devastating complications, including blindness.

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