November 14, 2016 At New England College of Optometry, NECO, students learn about the structure and function of visual and systemic systems, as well as eye health and eye disease. One such disease that affects the eye is diabetes. According to the American Optometric Association, it is the “leading cause of vision loss for Americans under the age of 74.” Students at NECO are working to increase awareness about the complications of the disease such as diabetes related blindness on World Diabetes Day, November 14, 2016. Early detection and timely treatment by optometrists can help prevent and minimize potential eye complications from diabetes.
This year, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has chosen the theme Eyes on Diabetes. As part of the World Diabetes Day campaign, IDF has set a target of 1 million people worldwide being screened either for diabetes or for diabetic retinopathy.
The prevalence of diabetes globally is increasing exponentially. According to IDF estimates globally there are approximately 424 million adults living with diabetes. One of the complications of Diabetes Mellitus is Diabetic Retinopathy. According to World Health Organization (WHO) – Diabetic Retinopathy is the main cause of visual impairment in working age group.
What can optometrists do to help with diabetes and eye health?
- Increase patient awareness and understanding of the disease through education.
- Increase screenings to identify patients at risk.
- Increase inter-professional communication and diabetes management as success is based on a multi-disciplinary approach.
- Stress the importance of annual comprehensive eye examinations with timely follow-up to help with preservation of vision and timely intervention and referral for treatment to prevent vision loss.
About New England College of Optometry
New England College of Optometry, NECO, is an independent graduate college of optometry that educates students for careers in eye care delivery, research and education. For over 130 years, the New England College of Optometry has been educating optometrists and leaders in the field. Originally founded in 1894 as the Klein School of Optics, NECO prepares the next generation of eye care providers, educators, leaders, and innovators through a rigorous curriculum and extensive clinical experiences. Through a vast network of clinical affiliations, our students put patient care first, providing vision care to children, older adults, the homeless, and individuals with disabilities through our mobile eye clinic, satellite clinics in schools, homeless shelters, community health centers, and VA medical centers.
Media Contact: Ingrid Hoogendoorn, Director of Communications