13 December 2017
Every person with diabetes is at risk of going blind. Around 1 in 3 people with diabetes develop some form of eye health complication, which if left untreated can have devastating and wide ranging social and economic impacts on them, their families and communities.
Almost all vision impairment and blindness from diabetic eye disease can be prevented through effective diabetes management, early detection of eye problems through regular eye exams, and timely treatment. However, diabetic eye health is frequently absent from mainstream primary diabetes care and left to eye health specialists. Limited awareness that diabetes can cause vision impairment and irreversible blindness, combined with financial and geographical barriers to accessing needed eye health services mean that many people with diabetes do not have adequate access to vital sight-saving services.
This is why the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO), the World Council of Optometry (WCO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) are calling for urgent action from governments, medical associations, service providers and patient organisations to address the growing burden of diabetic eye disease.
Their joint declaration “Strengthening health systems to manage diabetic eye disease: Integrated care for diabetes and eye health” calls for the integration of eye health within routine diabetes care by primary health care providers, improved collaboration across the diabetes and eye health sectors, and action to foster and support patient-centred care approaches for diabetic eye health.
Download the joint declaration (pdf)
Learn more about diabetes and eye health