Diabetic retinopathy trial starts
More than 4,500 people with diabetes have signed up to take part in a diabetic retinopathy trial in Liverpool.
The Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease study – which is the largest of its kind – will see participants undergo a new innovative screening method.
It has been developed to better calculate the risk of diabetic retinopathy for each person.
Professor Simon Harding, from the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease and chair of Clinical Ophthalmology at St Paul’s Eye Unit, said: “Attending high numbers of clinics each year is a huge problem for people with diabetes so it is important to shape methods of detection to the individual’s needs so that it causes minimal disruption to their lives and crucially catches signs of the disease at the earliest opportunity.”
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common causes of visual loss in the world and can be prevented if it is detected early.
High blood sugar causes the fine blood vessels in the retina to leak fluid or to close resulting in the retina becoming starved of oxygen and waterlogged.
A person will generally not be aware they have a problem until their vision begins to decline, but once this starts often the damage is irreversible.
An annual eye screening is currently available for all those with diabetes, but the new detection method will see those deemed at low risk checked every two years.
Those who are believed to at high risk will be screened twice a year.
The clinical trial has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).