Doctor Pushes Eye Checks On Niue For Diabetics

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New Zealand surgeon says up to 15% of residents have diabetes

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 3, 2013) – A New Zealand eye surgeon is aiming to set up a screening programme in Niue so that people there with diabetes can be checked regularly.

Dr. Sarah Welch, who makes bi-annual trips to Niue to provide eye checks and surgery, says up to 15 percent of the island’s adult population has diabetes.

She says eye problems caused by diabetes need to be treated early or the patient risks blindness but there are no permanent ophthalmology services on the island.

Dr. Welch says under the screening programme the diabetics’ eyes will be checked and photographed on alternate years.

"Somewhat similar to the screening programme that we have in Auckland, most diabetics in NZ should be on a screening programme and in a lot of places that is done by topography so people go along to their local optometrists or their local diabetic centre and get photos of their eyes, if everything is fine they are told they can come back in a year, if there is a problem they are referred back to the doctor."

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