Strengthening health systems to manage diabetic eye disease: Integrated care for diabetes and eye health
On the occasion of World Sight Day 2019, 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) launch a joint declaration to strengthen health systems to manage diabetic eye disease, through an integrated care approach for diabetes and eye health.
It is available in all UN languages (English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese and Russian).
Why is World Sight Day important for the diabetes community?
Every person with diabetes is at risk of going blind. Around a third of 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.
Currently 145 million people have diabetic retinopathy (DR) and 45 million have vision threatening DR. By 2040, it is estimated that 224 million people will have DR and 70 million will have vision-threatening DR.
Almost all vision impairment and blindness from diabetes-related eye disease can be prevented through effective diabetes management, early detection of eye problems through regular eye exams, and timely treatment.
However, diabetes-related 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 the required eye health services mean that many people with diabetes do not have adequate access to vital sight-saving services.
- The integration of eye health within routine diabetes care by primary health care providers;
- Improved collaboration across the diabetes and eye health sectors;
- Action to foster and support patient-centred care approaches for diabetic eye health.