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MPs told to focus on eyes

More than 100 people joined a rally of parliament organised by Diabetes UK and the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB). The rally took place yesterday to raise awareness of the need for retinopathy screening for all people with diabetes to help prevent blindness.

Diabetes UK President Jimmy Tarbuck addressed the participants at the rally along with Adrian Sanders MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group and Sarah Caltieri, who has diabetes and retinopathy.Diabetes UK Chief Executive Douglas Smallwood also spoke at the rally and said: “There is no excuse for people to go blind through retinopathy. The Government has made it clear that by June 2006, 70 per cent of people with diabetes should be screened to pick up signs of eye problems.

"If picked up early enough, retinopathy is treatable and blindness can be prevented. Currently Department of Health figures show an average of 56.9 per cent of people are getting screened – there is clearly a long way to go and missing this target is unforgivable.”Policy Director of the RNIB, Fazilet Hadi added: “We are delighted to be a part of this event and are pleased that so many people have come to speak to their MP."

"Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the working age population. Getting comprehensive screening is necessary to protect people's sight and should be available together with help and support services for those diagnosed with sight loss.”

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