“Attend specialist eye screenings to help spot diabetes,” says sufferer
A DIABETIC teenager has appealed to others with the condition to attend their specialist eye screenings.
Joe Downton (19), who has Type 1 Diabetes, said: “Our sight is so precious, we need to treasure it.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the eye’s retina, and can cause blindness if left untreated.
Screening is offered every year to anyone with diabetes aged 12 and over.
Joe attended his annual screening in February at Kimberworth Park Medical Centre and has healthy eyes, having been tested since the age of 12.
The Kimberworth teenager said: “I strongly encourage everyone who is eligible for diabetic eye screening to attend their annual appointment.
“I understand we all lead busy lives but we need to put it into perspective how important that 30 minutes once a year really is.”
Joe added: “The eye drops may affect your sight for a few hours, so if you drive, I’d advise you to get someone to take you to and from your appointment.”
The risk of diabetic retinopathy can be reduced by sticking to a well-balanced diet and taking regular exercise.
Suzanne Bird, programme manager for the Barnsley and Rotherham Diabetic Eye Screening Programme said: “Joe is a shining example to all young adults managing diabetes.
“Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy do not show until the condition is advanced, therefore early detection allows prompt treatment.
“It’s important to attend both Diabetic Eye Screening and optician appointments.”
If you have diabetes and have not been screened, call Barnsley and Rotherham Diabetic Eye Screening Programme on 01226 434576.