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Diabetes Eye Health

Feb 02, 2016

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of preventable blindness in the working age population, and is a feared complication of many people with diabetes. There are over 90 million people who currently have diabetic retinopathy, and one third of all people with diabetes are projected to develop diabetic retinopathy over their lifetime. The risk of blindness can be reduced by good diabetes management, regular screening, and timely treatment. Diabetes management includes controlling blood pressure, blood glucose and lipid levels by encouraging a healthy lifestyle and medication as required.  Improved control can slow the progression of eye disease, especially when initiated soon after diabetes is diagnosed. Diabetic retinopathy may be asymptomatic until an advanced stage, therefore it is imperative to encourage people with diabetes to have regular eye screening. For early detection and timely treatment to be successful, regular screening for diabetic retinopathy must be integrated into patient-centric diabetes care.

What are some examples of successful behavioural interventions for improving eye health in people with diabetes? What information do people with diabetes need to receive from health professionals about eye health? 

Information about the discussion leader

The discussion will be moderated by Dr Lydia E Makaroff, the epidemiology & public health manager at the International Diabetes Federation.


  1. Zheng Y, He M, Congdon N. The worldwide epidemic of diabetic retinopathy. Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. 2012;60(5):428-431. doi:10.4103/0301-4738.100542.

  2. International Diabetes Federation and The Fred Hollows Foundation.  Diabetes Eye Health: A Guide for Health Professionals. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2015.

  3. International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT LIST for screening/monitoring and treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy (DR), March 2014.

  4. Fred Hollows Foundation. The price of sight - The global cost of eliminating avoidable blindness. February 2013.