In Focus: Celebrating Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

Lucy Patchett collates advice on how to address diabetic-related eye diseases

A global campaign for Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month in November was led by advice and resources from various organisations, including the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), Prevent Blindness America (PBA) and the US National Eye Institute. As the prevalence of diabetes increased worldwide, the importance of screening for diabetes and diabetes-related eye diseases has risen on the agenda for health professionals. By 2040, about 224 million (35%) people worldwide will have some form of diabetic retinopathy (DR), in addition, 70 million (11%) people will have vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy, according to the IAPB.

World Diabetes Day (November 14) also coincided with the awareness month and, among many industry activities highlighted by the IAPB, the Diabetic Retinopathy Network (DR-NET) held a workshop exploring the development of DR services in low and middle-income countries. Presentations from Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria noted the vital role of multidisciplinary collaboration and involvement of all health services to enable regular eye screening, education and counselling, and timely treatment when needed. Kenya and Malawi have made progress by implementing national guidelines for DR services, promoting and standardising DR screening and treatment services and by unifying the tertiary hospitals to provide standardised DR services across the country.

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