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Welsh campaign aims to prevent diabetes sight loss

People with diabetes in Wales are being urged to get their eyes checked to help prevent sight loss.
The campaign, which has been launched by the Welsh Government, has been launched to coincide with World Diabetes Day, which takes place each year on the 14th November.
There are 165,000 people in Wales who are over the age of 12 with the condition and are eligible for a free retinopathy screening appointment.
All those people will be contacted and reminded to attend their annual invitation and get their eyes checked to ensure there are no problems.
Eye checks are extremely important for people who have diabetes because they are at risk of diabetic retinopathy which can sometimes be symptom free so they may not know there is an issue until they attend a screening.
Regular screening can pick up changes in the eye which means treatment can be administered before any long-term damage occurs.
The Minister for Social Services and Public Health, Rebecca Evans, said: “Loss of sight can be devastating, which is why we are doing everything we can to ensure people have all the information and support they need to take care of their eyesight.
“People living with diabetes are at particular risk of sight loss – but this complication is avoidable.
“If you have diabetes and are over 12 you should be having your eyes screened for retinopathy by attending your free Diabetic Eye Screening Wales appointment.
“The screening looks for specific changes in the eye that cause blindness, and it is effective at reducing your risk of sight loss.”
Andrew Crowder, Head of Programme for Diabetic Eye Screening Wales said: “By regularly attending for your retinopathy screening with Diabetic Eye Screening Wales, we can help keep your sight safe.
“Our service is specially designed to detect retinopathy at a very early stage – before you know you have it and when treatment is still very effective.
“We screen all over Wales, so there will be clinics running near to where you live. But if we do offer an invitation that doesn’t suit you, just contact us and we’ll find something else that does.
“The most important thing is that you come along and you’ll leave knowing that you’ve done the right thing to protect your precious sight.”
Many people with diabetes do not realise they are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy which can cause blindness.
Those who have had the condition for a long time, have persistently high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and are pregnant are at greater risk.
This year World Diabetes Day is focusing on the eyes. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) hope the Eyes on Diabetes theme will promote the importance of early detection and timely treatment of diabetic retinopathy in order to prevent vision loss.

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