Did you know that April 7 marked the 70<sup>th</sup> World Health Day?
April 7 marked the 70th World Health Day, started by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. This year, Focus on Diabetes™ joins the WHO in celebrating and honoring health care workers across the globe. We are grateful for the dedication of those on the front-line providing health care—including eye care providers who work to improve and save our vision every day.
By the numbers
- There are 30 million American adults living with diabetes. Another 84 million are living with prediabetes, yet 90% of them don’t know they have it.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss in people 18–64 years old.
- Diabetic retinopathy impacts approximately 146 million people globally. Another 72 million are impacted by glaucoma and cataracts (people with diabetes are at higher risk to develop these eye diseases).
Like the WHO, we are committed to ensuring that everyone, everywhere, can realize the right to good health, and we’re dedicated to raising awareness that eye care is health care. The eyes are the only places on the body that provide a direct view to blood vessels, which can indicate signs of serious health conditions, like diabetes and high blood pressure.
In fact, recent studies indicate that sight is overwhelmingly valued as the most important sense, but most don’t make time to get their annual comprehensive eye exam. Diabetic eye disease can be effectively managed and even prevented with early detection and treatment. If you’re at risk for, or have diabetes, an annual eye exam is a must—offering a simple way to prevent or delay eye disease and vision loss caused by diabetes.
Other contributors to healthy eyes for those at risk, or living with diabetes include:
- Social support
- Nutritional support
- Medication and medication examinations
- Treatments to stabilize and minimize vision loss
It’s essential to be proactive and take care of your health. While you can’t change your past risks like sun exposure and smoking, you can start making changes, such as managing blood sugar (blood glucose) and taking steps to live healthy, which will help reduce your chances of developing eye problems that are more common as you get older. Routine exams are so important in catching problems early—helping you avoid conditions that could lead to vision loss.
Once you start to notice symptoms of these conditions, such as blurred vision, dark spots or “holes”, flashes of light, an increase in floaters, and poor night vision, your eyes have already been damaged.
It’s easy to take your eyesight for granted. Take the “Next Step” in your eye health journey! Join us during May, as we encourage everyone to take the Next Step #EyeChallenge:
- Take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test
- Make an appointment with your eye care provider
- Prepare for your appointment
- Share your story
- Get treatment, if needed
Stay tuned and follow us on social with #EyeChallenge to make sure you’re up to date with the latest information.