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Opticians may help in identifying undiagnosed diabetics

Category: Diabetes

With type 2 diabetes rates continuing to soar, many people are now unaware they have the condition. However, new research suggests that conducting HbA1c testing at opticians' offices could help identify millions of undiagnosed diabetics.

Estimates have shown that up to half of the people living with type 2 diabetes are undiagnosed. Experts have suggested that identifying all the people with the condition could require offering testing in unconventional places. The Durham University researchers who conducted the present study said that the high number of people who visit opticians makes these sites a viable option.

The team found that out of 1,000 people with one or more risk factors for type 2 diabetes who were tested at their optician's office, 32 percent were eventually referred to their primary care physician for further testing.

Opticians clearly have a role to play in fighting the diabetes epidemic, the researchers said, as they often deal with complications of the condition, with vision loss being one of the main side effects. Now, policymakers will need to create systems under which opticians can refer patients they suspect of having diabetes to a physician.

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