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The fundamentals of eye health in people with diabetes

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Diabetes is an increasingly common problem across all age groups and the incidence is increasing globally, with estimated figures of a total world population of 382 million people with iabetes in 2013, rising to 592 million by 2035.1 Most people with diabetes are between 40 and 59 years of age.1 Diabetes places individuals at high risk of eye disease, which can have a debilitating effect on people's livelihoods, independence, employment and relationships.

In the UK, diabetic retinopathy remains the main cause of visual impairment and registered blindness in people under 65 years of age.2 Diabetic retinopathy affects approximately 40 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes and about 20 per cent of those with type 2 diabetes. It is also estimated that 10 per cent of those with diabetes in the UK are affected by sight-threatening retinopathy.3

Recommendations for screening

Retinal screening is recommended for everyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes over the age of 12 years or at the onset of puberty if that occurs earlier.4

Guidelines2,5 recommend that people with diabetes should be offered an explanation of the importance of retinal screening.

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