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Diabetes Increases the Number of Eye Disease Patients at Risk for Blindness

Prevent Blindness offers new informational resource for November’s diabetes-related eye disease awareness month.

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(PRESS RELEASE) CHICAGO — According to the new “World Report on Vision” from the World Health Organization, the number of people with diabetes-related retinopathy globally is estimated to increase from 146 million in 2014 to 180.6 million in 2030. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults in the United States.

Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health non-profit organization, has declared November as Diabetes-related Eye Disease Awareness Month to educate the public on the effects of diabetes on vision, risk factors, and treatment options.

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Prevent Blindness recently launched a new, no-cost resource, the “Diabetes and the Eyes” educational toolkit. The resource includes downloadable fact sheets, shareable infographics for social media, and financial assistance resources to increase access to eye care. For healthcare professionals, community organizers, and more, an educator course is also available, including a PowerPoint presentation and script. These materials were made possible by funding from the Allergan Foundation.

Diabetes-related eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication of the disease including diabetes-related retinopathy and diabetes-related macular edema (DME). Those with diabetes are also at greater risk for cataract and glaucoma.

People with diabetes may lower their risk of developing eye disease by:

  • Knowing their numbers to manage glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
  • Getting a dilated eye exam annually, or more often, as recommended by an eye doctor.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, not smoking, and following a healthy meal plan.

For the second consecutive year, Oxurion NV, a biopharmaceutical company developing innovative treatments to preserve vision in patients with diabetes-related eye disease, is partnering with Prevent Blindness to raise awareness and provide education to the public as part of for November’s Diabetes-related Eye Disease month.

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“The longer someone has diabetes, the higher the risk for diabetes-related eye disease,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “It is imperative that people with diabetes work closely with their eye doctor to take the necessary steps to help prevent significant vision loss.”

For more information on diabetes-related eye disease, please visit www.preventblindness.org/diabetes-resources, or call Prevent Blindness at (800) 331-2020 or visit preventblindness.org. For a free listing of organizations and services that provide financial assistance for vision care in English or Spanish, please visit https://www.preventblindness.org/vision-care-financial-assistance-information.

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