Prevent Blindness is offering videos, fact sheets, social media graphics and PowerPoint presentations to educate the public on the potential effects diabetes may have on vision.
Prevent Blindness has declared November as Diabetes-related Eye Disease Awareness Month, providing the public with a variety of helpful tools to prevent unnecessary vision loss from diabetes.
According to a news release on the organization’s website,1 a study titled “Prevalence of Diabetic Retinopathy in the US in 2021” found that an estimated 26 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes had diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 20–74, according to the National Eye Institute.2
Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pointed out in a 2022 report3 that about 37.3 million people have diabetes, and 96 million people aged 18 years or older have prediabetes.
CDC research also found that diagnosed cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are increasing significantly among youth in the United States. From 2001 to 2017, the number of people under age 20 living with type 1 diabetes increased by 45 percent, and the number living with type 2 diabetes grew by 95 percent. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk for diabetes-related eye disease.3
The group offers the following at no cost:
Focus on Eye Health Expert Series Prevent Blindness has two episodes in its Focus on Eye Health Expert Series dedicated to diabetes and vision: Kristen Nwanyanwu, MD, MBA, MHS, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Yale School of Medicine, discusses "Health Disparities and Diabetes-related Eye Disease," and Neil M. Bressler, MD, professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Editor in Chief of JAMA Ophthalmology, is featured in "Diabetes and Your Eyes."
Diabetes + The Eyes Educational Toolkit - Available in English and Spanish, this resource includes Power Point presentations, shareable social media graphics and a dedicated webpage. The Diabetes + The Eyes program, is supported by funding from Regeneron.
Diabetes + The Eyes: Vision Health in Youth Fact Sheet - This new resource provides detailed information on what parents and care partners need to know to help youth with diabetes protect their eye health. This fact sheet was developed with support from UnitedHealthcare. (A Spanish version will be available soon.)
According to the news release,1 Prevent Blindness and the Focus on Diabetes vide series will feature a variety of educational videos designed for consumer audiences. Focus on Diabetes is an eye health initiative of the American Diabetes Association.
Earlier this year, Prevent Blindness announced it was partnering with award-winning actress, dancer and director Debbie Allen and Regeneron for the Gr8 Eye Movement, a new disease awareness campaign that aims to address gaps in how people understand the risk of developing certain serious retinal diseases, including diabetes-related macular edema and diabetes-related retinopathy. Information may be found at: Gr8EyeMovement.com.
Allen told Ophthalmology Times in an interview earlier this year that maintaining vision has become a growing priority in her life.
“In particular, I’ve learned it’s crucial for people like me — who are from communities of color, are over the age of 60, or who are living with diabetes or at risk of developing diabetes — to educate themselves about the risk of developing a retinal disease,” Allen said. “Diabetes has impacted many generations of my own family, and I have had family members blinded by diabetic eye disease. Also, as I age, I know I could be at risk for developing other retinal diseases like wet age-related macular degeneration that could potentially hinder me from doing the things in my life I love most. This is why I’m joining the Gr8 Eye Movement – to encourage anyone at risk to check their eye health regularly.”
Funding from Regeneron and VSP Vision is supporting a Diabetes, Vision Loss and Mental Wellness video and the Diabetes-related Eye Disease and Mental Health fact sheet, which is available in English and Spanish.
The Center for Vision and Population Health at Prevent Blindness offers the free "Vision Integration Library: Vision and Eye Health Resource Center at Prevent Blindness." The comprehensive database with updated resources includes listings of vision health programs and resources specifically intended for those in public health, healthcare, and community service providers.1
"We know that the number of people at risk for vision loss and blindness from diabetes continues to climb," Jeff Todd, Prevent Blindness president and CEO, said in the news release. "The time is now to take the necessary steps to help those with diabetes, and those at risk for developing diabetes, avoid significant vision impairment by providing educational resources and promoting access to affordable eyecare."
For more information on the "Diabetes + The Eyes" program, please visit https://preventblindness.org/diabetes-and-eyes-educational-toolkit. For general diabetes-related eye disease information, visit http://preventblindness.org/diabetes or https://preventblindness.org/juvenile-diabetes-and-your-eyes/. For a free listing of organizations and services that provide financial assistance for vision care in English or Spanish, please visit https://preventblindness.org/vision-care-financial-assistance-information/.
1. Prevent Blindness Provides Informational Resources to Professionals and the Public for November's Diabetes-related Eye Disease Awareness Month. Prevent Blindness. Published October 25, 2023. Accessed October 26, 2023. DOI: https://preventblindness.org/2023-diabetes-awareness-month/
2. People with Diabetes Can Prevent Vision Loss. National Eye Institute. Accessed October 26, 2023. DOI: https://www.nei.nih.gov/sites/default/files/2019-06/diabetes-prevent-vision-loss.pdf
3. National Diabetes Statistics Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published June 29, 2022. Accessed October 26, 2023. DOI: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/index.html?ACSTrackingID=DM72996