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Diabetics "miss out on eye tests"

A charity has warned that some 500,000 diabetics in the UK are missing out on the best kind of eye test, potentially putting their sight at risk.

Screening with a digital camera allows an accurate picture to be taken of the workings of the eye, but new figures show that thousands of people are still not being given this type of test.

Under government targets, all diabetics should have been offered digital camera screening by the end of 2007. The examination detects diabetic retinopathy - the leading cause of blindness among adults in the UK.

According to the charity Diabetes UK, figures from the Department of Health show that 26% of adult diabetics did not receive retinal screening with a digital camera between January and December last year.

The charity adds that 100 out of 152 primary care trusts are also failing to meet a second government target for 80% of people offered digital camera screening in 2007 to have received it by March 2008.

Experts believe that digital screening is better than the old "slit lamp" technique because an accurate image of the eye is produced for use during follow-up consultations.

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Diabetes UK