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

Written by on November 2, 2019

Columbus, OH (Oct. 30, 2019) – 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.

The American Diabetes Association states that approximately 1,279,000 people in Ohio, or 12.7% of the adult population, have diabetes.

Prevent Blindness 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.

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.

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers a yearly eye exam for diabetic retinopathy by an eye doctor who is legally allowed to do the test in the state. All people with Part B who have diabetes are covered.

“There are 284,631 Ohioans age 40 and older who have diabetic retinopathy, and the number of Ohio seniors affected by aging eye diseases is expected to double over the next 20 years as the Baby Boomer generation ages, ” said Sherry Williams, President & CEO of the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness. “We encourage everyone to get a dilated eye exam, and those with diabetes to do so annually, so that eye doctors are given a chance to detect, treat and limit the damaging effects to vision.”

For more information on diabetes-related eye disease, please visit www.preventblindness.org/diabetes-resources, or call Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate at 800-301-2020 or visit www.pbohio.org. For a free listing (in English or Spanish) of organizations and services that provide financial assistance for vision care, please visit https://www.preventblindness.org/vision-care-financial-assistance-information.

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