There are currently more than 37 million American adults living with diabetes. Almost three times that many adults (96 million) are living with prediabetes and 90% are completely unaware. Anyone with diabetes is at risk for diabetes-related eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, glaucoma, and cataracts. Some groups, however, are at a higher risk of losing their vision or going blind from diabetes, including Black Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, American Indians, and Alaska Natives. While genetic factors likely play a role in these health inequities, so do social, economic, and environmental barriers.
In observance of Healthy Vision Month in May, Focus on Diabetes™—a multi-year initiative that brings together the American Diabetes Association® (ADA) and Visionary Partners, VSP® Vision Care, and Regeneron—is highlighting the importance of prioritizing eye health and sharing resources available for people living with diabetes and diabetes-related eye diseases.
To help increase awareness in the community, the ADA partnered with their Focus on Diabetes Champion patient advocates—including Tiffani, Randall, Patricia, Natalie, and Rachael—to share their stories of living with diabetes throughout the month.
“Just as diabetes management is not a one-size-fits-all approach, neither is taking care of our eye health,” said Dr. Robert Gabbay, chief scientific and medical officer for the ADA. “This Healthy Vision Month, Focus on Diabetes is encouraging you to take control of your health.
There are some easy ways to start, from scheduling an annual dilated eye exam, taking or sharing the ADA’s RetinaRisk™ calculator and Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test, and promoting resources in your area.”
“For the more than 130 million people with diabetes or prediabetes, receiving an annual eye exam is a simple and cost-effective way to help detect potential eye problems early,” said VSP Vision Care President Kate Renwick-Espinosa.
“Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults aged 18–64, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care can reduce a person’s risk for severe vision loss from diabetes-related eye disease by 95 percent.”
During this month, Focus on Diabetes will feature Champions on the ADA’s Instagram who will share details of their diabetes and eye health journey, as well as host a live chat answering questions from viewers through a Social Media Takeover and Be a Friend Friday (BAFF) events: