A surge in the number of South Africans going blind through a little-known side-effect of diabetes is predicted by an ophthalmologist. With diabetes on the rise from poor diets and sedentary lifestyles, it’s important that people realise it can lead to blindness, Dr Kgaogelo Legodi says, because by the time a person’s sight deteriorates, it’s generally too late to cure. Legodi used to be Nelson Mandela’s eye specialist. Now he has set his sights on working to eradicate preventable blindness across Africa. Alerting people to the risk of diabetes is a great place to start. "Blindness caused by diabetes is very, very common and if you have diabetes you need to see an ophthalmologist yearly," he says. "If you don’t do that you can have bleeding in your retina and once you’re not able to see very well, it’s usually too late and 90% of my patients come too late." The disease causes diabetic retinopathy, where blood vessels in the retina bleed or leak fluid, distorting vision. It’s a leadi...

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