RNIB research reveals UK cities with greatest risk of diabetic retinopathy blindness

This Diabetes Week (11 June – 17 June), research has been published by Specsavers and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), revealing that diabetes affects an estimated 3.6 million people in the UK. Yet 40% of the British public are unaware that blindness is one of diabetes’ biggest complications.

Data from the RNIB reveals that London, Manchester and Liverpool are among the top UK cities at greatest risk of blindness due to diabetic retinopathy.

Dr Nigel Best, clinical spokesperson at Specsavers adds: ‘Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health conditions today – fuelled by record levels of obesity, excessive sugar consumption and sedentary lifestyles. If we continue to turn a blind eye to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as a result, we can only expect to see the number of undiagnosed cases escalate.

‘Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness among people of working age in the UK[1] so it’s hugely important that diabetes is detected early and monitored correctly to avoid furthering the risks. 

‘At Specsavers, we offer digital retinal photography for free as part of a standard eye test for customers aged over 40. This takes a detailed picture of the back of your eye and the microcirculation of blood – helping to highlight indicators of diabetes that need addressing.’

Top 10 UK cities for diabetes and diabetic retinopathy prevalence

CityEstimated number of people living with diabetic retinopathy (2015)Estimated number of adults with diabetes (2016)
London Boroughs173,110465,970
Manchester and surrounding areas54,070163,430
Liverpool and surrounding areas27,81088,090
Glasgow City12,26034,740

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