Annual dilated eye exam helps prevent vision loss in people with diabetes

Diabetes causes more new cases of legal blindness among working-age Americans than any other disease. If diabetics are monitored regularly by their ophthalmologist, this vision loss is almost always avoidable. Yet, tragically, more than half of all people living with diabetes do not get the recommended annual dilated eye exam. As the number of people with Type 2 diabetes rises in the U.S., the CDC projects that the number of adults with diabetic retinopathy will double by the year 2050. Yet 90 percent of diabetic eye disease can be prevented simply by proper regular examinations and treatment and by controlling blood sugar.

This November, during Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (Academy) through its EyeSmart™ campaign, is reminding the public that an annual dilated eye exam can help prevent vision loss in people with diabetes. To promote awareness of the need for an annual eye exam, the Academy, along with its partners the American Society of Retina Specialists, the Macula Society and the Retina Society, have launched EyeSmart: EyeCommitted, a social media campaign to encourage people with diabetes to pledge to get an annual eye exam.

"Diabetes can have a devastating impact on vision, but the good news is that regular dilated eye exams by an ophthalmologist and timely treatment, if needed, can save vision for the vast majority of diabetics," said David W. Parke II, MD, executive vice president and CEO of the Academy. "That is why we're urging people with diabetes to get EyeCommitted. By taking charge of their eye health, Americans can greatly reduce their risk of losing their sight from diabetes."

The EyeCommitted campaign, which will be promoted through the power of social media channels, will include an interactive pledge application that:

-- Encourages visitors to take the EyeCommitted pledge to have an annual diabetic eye exam; -- Allows users to share the pledge and campaign information with friends and family; -- Features important diabetic eye disease information and a new video that tells the compelling stories of two patients with diabetic retinopathy; and, -- Allows users to post the application onto their preferred social media sites.

SOURCE: American Academy of Ophthalmology

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