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More Than 60000 Scots Risk Blindness

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

MORE than 60,000 people in Scotland who are unaware they have Type 2 diabetes could be endangering their sight, warns Specsavers.

This announcement comes on the back of official figures revealed by Diabetes UK* showing that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has soared by 50 per cent in just a year - representing one new sufferer every three minutes.  A further 60,629 people in Scotland are unaware that they may even have the potentially life-threatening condition.**

Peter Carson, regional chair for Specsavers in Scotland says: 'Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in Scotland's working-age population. People with diabetes are 20 times more at risk of going blind than someone without the condition. Just under 210,000 people in Scotland currently suffer from Diabetes, and of these, up to 40% have some degree of optical damage known as retinopathy. However, if retinopathy is detected early and treated adequately blindness can be prevented in 90% of cases.' 

Over the last two years, Specsavers has nationally raised more than £300,000 for Diabetes UK. The funds raised will go towards vital research and setting up community outreach projects.

Peter continues: 'An eye examination can detect the onset of diabetes among people who don't even realise they have it, which is why we are urging everyone to have a sight test at least every two years.

'All optometrists are trained to spot signs of diabetes during a regular eye examination and Specsavers has more than 2,000 optometrists carrying out nearly six million eye tests a year throughout the UK.  Eye tests are free under the NHS to everyone in Scotland.'

To book an eye appointment or find your local store, call 0800 0680 241 or log onto www.specsavers.co.uk.


*Source: Diabetes UK (January 2009)





Specsavers notes to editors                                               


  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world
  • The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their eldest son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,260 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Annual turnover for the Specsavers Group is forecast to reach a record £1.05 billion for the financial year 2008/9
  • The group plans to continue its successful international expansion by opening stores in New Zealand
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners.
  • Specsavers employs more than 26,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the seventh year running by Reader's Digest in 2008
  • One in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers Opticians - eight and a half million glasses were sold during 2007
  • Specsavers is the largest retail provider of home delivery contact lenses in Europe and one of the top two retail suppliers of continuous wear lenses in the world
  • Specsavers is now the largest retail dispenser of digital hearing aids in the UK and will offer a hearing service from more than 400 locations by the end of 2008
  • Specsavers supports numerous optical and hearing charities, including Diabetes UK, for whom they have raised more than £250,000 to fund research into diabetic retinopathy
  • Since 2003 a quarter of a million glasses have been collected and recycled by Specsavers stores for Vision Aid Overseas for use in developing countries