We’re reminding people of the importance of diabetic eye screening and highlighting the devastating effects of missing an appointment.
Diabetes can affect the small blood vessels at the back of your eyes and is a common cause of sight loss as people are at a higher risk of developing eye problems.
Sue Pott, programme lead for the diabetic eye screening programme at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “Sadly we’re seeing an increase in the number of patients between the age of 18 and 45 who are not attending their appointments.
“We’ve seen the devastating effects of how eye disease can impact these people when they can no longer carry on doing a job they once could do.
“Screening is so important, and I would urge everyone who is invited for screening to take up their appointment. We’re running clinics which are more convenient for people who have work commitments, but taking time out of your day for this could save your sight.
“People with diabetes are invited for screening once a year, but some people may need to be seen more often in our clinics.
“We want to make sure we see any changes in your eye health and signs of diabetic eye disease as quickly as possible. Screening is an effective way of detecting any problems at an early stage.
“Your screening appointment is nothing to worry about. Our specialist screening staff will look after you.
“They will carry out some simple tests and look at your eye health. You receive your results in a few weeks in the post.
“Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the cells in the small blood vessels at the back of the eye, known as the retina. If it is not treated, it can lead to blindness.”
The NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme was introduced to reduce the risk of people who have diabetes losing their vision.
Sue continued: “Our team of specialists provide eye screening for people who have diabetes. We have the very best latest technology in Stockton, Hartlepool and Peterlee, so we can take good care of your eyes.
“You can help yourself to reduce the risk of diabetic eye disease by: always attending your screening appointments, controlling your blood sugar levels, eating healthily, stop smoking, monitoring your blood pressure and taking your medication as prescribed.”