People in Bristol at risk of losing sight due to lack of regular health checks

The team at Specsavers in Bradley Stoke is raising awareness this Diabetes Week (11 June – 17 June) as, according to research, 8,940 people in Bristol are at risk of losing their sight due to diabetes.

Olympic rower Sir Steve Redgrave CBE is joining forces with Specsavers and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to warn of the risks of blindness linked to the condition.

The campaign follows Sir Steve admitting that losing his sight is one of his biggest worries – as his diabetes means he is up to 20 times more likely to lose his sight than those without the condition[1].

Sir Steve says: ‘Going blind is, unfortunately, a very real threat for me. Until I was diagnosed with the condition, I was totally unaware of its implications on sight and having lived with diabetes for more than 20 years now, I can’t stress enough the importance of regular eye tests at your opticians and check-ups at the nearest diabetic screening programme.

‘It’s great to see the Specsavers store in Bradley Stoke raising awareness during Diabetes Week.  Since being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I’ve learnt how important it is to get regular eye checks to detect signs of diabetic retinopathy, which can cause blindness.  The eyes are a window to general health so visiting your optician should be part of your routine for staying fit and healthy.’

Sophie Castell, Director of Relationships at RNIB, said: ‘Sadly, all too often, people with diabetes can lose their sight due to complications. Yet with early detection through regular eye tests and specialist diabetic eye screening followed by timely treatment, sight loss due to diabetic retinopathy can be prevented.’

Research supported by RNIB reveals that London, Manchester and Liverpool are among the UK cities at greatest risk of blindness due to diabetic retinopathy[2].

Ed Stanleigh, store director at Specsavers Bradley Stoke says: ‘Many people are unaware that eye tests are not only critical for your eyes, but your wider health too.

‘At Specsavers, we offer digital retinal photography for free as part of a standard eye test for customers aged over 40. This takes a detailed picture of the back of your eye and the microcirculation of blood – helping to highlight indicators of diabetes that need addressing alongside the diabetic eye screening programme.’

Top 10 UK cities for diabetes and diabetic retinopathy prevalence

City Estimated number of people living with diabetic retinopathy (2015) Estimated number of adults with diabetes (2016)
London Boroughs 173,110 465,970
Greater Manchester 54,070 163,430
Merseyside 27,810 88,090
Birmingham 21,110 59,790
Leeds 15,240 44,390
Glasgow City 12,260 34,740
Sheffield 11,250 33,060
City of Edinburgh 10,250 29,660
Bradford 10,060 30,450
Bristol 8,940 24,000

For further information on Diabetes Week, please visit: https://www.specsavers.co.uk/

[1]https://www.diabetes.org.uk/resources-s3/2017-11/diabetes_in_the_uk_2010.pdf

[2]R. Mathur et al (2017), Diabetic eye disease: A UK Incidence and Prevalence Study. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. RNIB. 2014 based projections ONS 2016 Subnational Population Projections. Sight loss data tool 2018, RNIB, available at RNIB.org.uk/datatool

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