HUDDERSFIELD diabetics are urged to have a free eye test every year - to avoid losing their sight.
Diabetes-related retinopathy is the most common cause of sight loss among people of working age in the UK.
The condition affects the blood vessels of the retina in 60% of diabetics.
A full eye test or specific screening examination can detect serious conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and age- related macular degeneration, the leading cause of sight loss in older people.
More than 120,000 people in the North are diagnosed as diabetics.
High street opticians in Huddersfield and Calderdale have been trained to provide an eye screening service for diabetics.
The tests are paid for by GPs in primary care trusts.
If changes in the eye are detected, patients are referred to a hospital.
A spokesman for the Calderdale and Kirklees Local Optical Committee said:
"The fact that people can see well does not mean there is not a problem developing.
"Once the damage has been done it cannot be reversed."
Eyes can be damaged if the blood sugar level is kept at a high level to prevent a "hypo" occurring when the sufferer lapses into unconsciousness.
The more a person can keep himself or herself stable the less likely they are to have problems with their eyes.