JDRF Encourages Everyone Living with Diabetes to be Proactive about Eye Health in Recognition of Healthy Vision Month
Early detection of diabetes related eye disease and timely, appropriate treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by over 95%.
NEW YORK—May 18, 2023 – In recognition of Healthy Vision Month, JDRF, the leading global type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and advocacy organization, encourages everyone living with diabetes to be proactive about their eye health. Eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, a condition that can cause vision loss and blindness, occur over time in more than half of people with diabetes. Anyone living with diabetes, including people with T1D, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes, can develop diabetic retinopathy. However, early detection of diabetes related eye disease and timely, appropriate treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by over 95%.
“Eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy are a lingering reality for people living with diabetes,” said Sanjoy Dutta, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at JDRF. “JDRF knows eyesight is critical to effective type 1 diabetes management and preserving quality of life. That’s why JDRF funds research to stop and reverse the progression of diabetic eye disease, a life-altering complication of type 1 diabetes.”
The best way to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes related eye disease is the healthy management of several factors including blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. It is also important for people with T1D to see a retinal specialist for an annual exam and consult a retinal specialist when changes in vision occur.
The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases the longer someone has diabetes. Meaning a relatively young person in their 20s or 30s who was diagnosed with T1D as a child is already at higher risk for developing diabetic retinopathy.
Arielle Cilaire was diagnosed with T1D at the age of four and has been living with the disease for over 30 years. Arielle was aware of the risks of developing retinopathy and was diligent about seeing an ophthalmologist regularly. Following her pregnancy in 2020, she was surprised to learn she had retinopathy in both eyes.
“I never had signs of retinopathy before having my son. Now I know that everyone with type 1 diabetes should take the extra step of seeing a retinal specialist and that people with diabetes who become pregnant are at high risk for developing diabetic retinopathy,” said Arielle Cilaire. “Fortunately, my doctor was able to change the course of my retinopathy! Thanks to JDRF, the technology for treating diabetes and associated complications has changed dramatically in the 30 years since my diagnosis.”
For more information on diabetic eye disease and T1D visit jdrf.org/disease-complications/eye-disease/.
JDRF’s mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2.5 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally and globally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a global stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our five international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement, and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.org or follow us on Twitter (@JDRF), Facebook (@myjdrf), and Instagram (@jdrfhq).
About Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)
T1D is an autoimmune condition that causes the pancreas to make very little insulin or none at all. This leads to dependence on insulin therapy and the risk of short or long-term complications, which can include highs and lows in blood sugar; damage to the kidneys, eyes, nerves, and heart; and even death if left untreated. Globally, it impacts nearly 9 million people. Many believe T1D is only diagnosed in childhood and adolescence, but diagnosis in adulthood is common and accounts for nearly 50% of all T1D diagnoses. The onset of T1D has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. There is currently no cure for T1D.