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Opticians could help identify diabetes risk, says study

A new study by scientists at Durham University in collaboration with the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough has claimed that the use of a straightforward blood test when opticians are carrying out eye tests could bring improved diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
The pilot study was launched to offer a new way of identifying people with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes using the simple finger prick test when they are visiting the opticians, dentists or chiropodists for a routine check up. It was shown that, for the 1,000 patients who were monitored for diabetes risk factors and who had their level of blood glucose assessed during an eye test, nearly 32 per cent were then referred to their doctor for further examination.
The research, which was published in the British Journal of General Practice, recommended that introducing diabetes checks in this way could provide an important means of early diagnosis of diabetes.
Lead author on the study, Jenny Howse, commented “In the UK, our initial results show screening for diabetes in opticians is a feasible option but we now need to look at the practicalities of delivering it, including liaison between opticians and GPs and the time costs for opticians.”
Although he had reservations that such tests by the finger prick method could be misleading, Simon O’Neill, from the charity Diabetes UK, also said that “A commitment to find new ways to ensure early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is always positive.”

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