Prevent Blindness Offers Free Resources to Public to Help Save Sight from Diabetes-related Eye Disease.
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the leading volunteer eye health and safety organization of the U.S. dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight.
Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs and research.
CHICAGO—Diabetes continues to have a profound impact on the health of populations around the world. With the aging population and the significant increase in diabetes cases, the number of people living with diabetes-related eye disease continues to rise.
Data from “The Diabetic Retinopathy Barometer Report: Global Findings” from the International Federation on Ageing (IFA), the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), shows an estimated 415 million adults living with diabetes in 2015, globally.
By 2040, this number is set to rise to 642 million, constituting some 10 percent of the global adult population aged between 20 and 79 years.
Additionally, approximately one in three people living with diabetes has some degree of diabetes-related retinopathy (DR), and one in 10 will develop a vision-threatening form of the disease, according to the IAPB.
Prevent Blindness has declared November as Diabetes-Related Eye Disease Month to provide the public with important information on the impact that diabetes can have on vision, and offer tools and programs to help prevent significant vision loss from the disease.
The group has created a variety of resources including a dedicated webpage providing detailed information on diabetes-related eye diseases, and downloadable fact sheets in English and Spanish, and shareable social media graphics.
Prevent Blindness has also developed the Diabetes & the Eyes Educational Toolkit with free materials on diabetes and the impact of diabetes on eye health in English and Spanish.
These educational resources are intended for health care professionals, community health educators, and those in a caregiving or diabetes education role. The toolkit includes fact sheets, presentations and shareable social media graphics.
According to the Diabetic Retinopathy Barometer Report: Global Findings study, those with diabetes have a relatively high awareness of the complications associated with diabetes, and vision loss was by far the most concerning in many countries. Respondents shared that vision loss resulting from DR including Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), can affect their lives in a variety of ways including:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that early detection and treatment, when warranted, can prevent or delay blindness due to DR in 90 percent of people with diabetes. But, 50 percent or more of them do not get their eyes examined or are diagnosed too late for treatment to provide its maximum effectiveness.
The longer someone has diabetes, the higher their risk for developing DR including DME. As more children are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, leading to cases of DR including DME potentially at earlier ages, the need for interventions and treatment as soon as they are appropriate, before substantial vision loss has occurred, is becoming more crucial.
Important findings from the new National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) study “Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth (TODAY),” show that:
“Now, with more effective treatments than ever, it is so important for those with diabetes to receive a diagnosis and initiate treatment as soon as it is indicated to maximize vision,” said Dr. Neil M. Bressler, editor in chief of JAMA Ophthalmology.
“This only can happen if we work together to educate the public, provide access to essential eyecare services and treatments, and continue to fund research that will help put an end to vision loss, including blindness, from diabetes.”