The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted issues related to health care inequity, but for those living with chronic conditions like diabetes or diabetes-related eye disease, health disparities have long been top of mind. There are more than 37 million American adults living with diabetes and many of them face barriers to accessing proper diabetes care which can result in further complications, including potential vision loss and blindness.
In fact, anyone with diabetes is at risk for diabetes-related eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, glaucoma, and cataracts. The risk is even greater for racial and ethnic minorities who are disproportionately affected by diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy can lead to vision loss or blindness, and because it doesn’t always have obvious signs or symptoms, it’s important to prioritize eye health as part of overall diabetes care.
People with diabetes may face social, economic, and environmental barriers that make living with diabetes challenging. If you have ever found it difficult to prioritize managing your diabetes or to find the care and support you need, the American Diabetes Association® (ADA) can help!
In 2020, the ADA launched Focus on Diabetes™—a multi-year initiative that brings together the ADA and Visionary Partners, VSP® Vision Care and Regeneron, to increase awareness about diabetes and eye health. In recognition of Healthy Vision Month this May, Focus on Diabetes is providing education and resources to help you manage your eye health on a day to day basis. Here are a few simple ways you can take control of your eye health and help others to do the same:
Schedule an annual dilated eye exam: An annual dilated eye exam offers a simple and cost-effective way to help detect potential health problems early. Find an eye care professional and schedule an appointment today.
Calculate your risk for diabetic retinopathy: Use our free RetinaRisk™ calculator to determine your risk of developing sight threatening retinopathy.
Find diabetes resources in your area: Visit the ADA’s Community Connection page to be linked to all kinds of resources including financial assistance, medical care, housing assistance, and more.
Share resources with your friends and family: Take our free 60-Second Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test to see if you or a family member are at risk for type 2 diabetes. Visit the Focus on Diabetes website for resources, guides, and more. Share them with your community to raise awareness.
Become a diabetes advocate: Use your voice to support programs that advance the quality of care for people living with diabetes.
Become a Focus on Diabetes Champion: Help inspire others in the community by sharing your diabetes and eye health story. Start on your journey to inspiring others.
The ADA is committed to connecting people living with diabetes and diabetes-related eye disease to professionals and resources that can help them improve and maintain their overall health.
For more information on Healthy Vision Month activities throughout May, visit the Focus on Diabetes website. You can even join the conversation online using #MyHealthyVisionIs.
If you have questions about managing your diabetes and eye health, make sure to also call the ADA’s Center for Information at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. You can also follow the ADA on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to stay up to date on events featuring leading eye health and diabetes experts, resources, and more.