With over 17.9 million Americans already suffering from diabetes and another 57 million at risk, EyeCare America aims to spread awareness about the link between diabetes and vision loss during its month long Diabetes Eye Health Month campaign throughout November. Type 1 and type 1- diabetics are at risk of losing their vision due to diabetic retinopathy. According to research, people with diabetes are 25 times more likely to lose their eyesight as compared to those without the disease.
November has been designated as Diabetes Eye Health Month. EyeCare America has taken the opportunity to educate diabetics on the ABCs of diabetes and eye health, where âA’ is to inform your eye specialist if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, âB’ is to make sure to get your eyes tested regularly, and âC’ for senior citizens 65 or older to call 1-800-272-EYES (3937), if they do not have an ophthalmologist, and determine if they quality for EyeCare America’s Diabetes EyeCare Program, which is free of cost.
EyeCare America hopes that these three simple steps will help millions of seniors who may be at risk. According to C. Pat Wilkinson, MD, ophthalmologist and chairman of EyeCare America’s Diabetes EyeCare Program, there are 24,000 new cases of vision loss every year. People need to be aware that the risk of blindness may be reduced by 95 percent if detected early. With proper treatment and follow-up care, there will be a significant reduction in cases of diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy causes the blood vessels to swell and leak fluid. In some instances, there is an abnormal growth of blood vessels on the surface of the retina. There are no early warning signs, however, blurred vision is one of the first signs. To be eligible for EyeCare America’s Diabetes EyeCare Program individuals need to be 65 and older, and U.S. citizens or legal residents. Those who have not seen an ophthalmologist for over three years or do not have insurance through an HMO or the VA are encouraged to join in the program. Those eligible for the program will receive a complete medical eye exam and one year of treatment free of cost, for any disease that may be diagnosed by the initial examination. For further details call 1.800.272.EYES (3937) toll-free, 24 hours a day all through the year.
About EyeCare America
EyeCare America is a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Since its inception in 1985, the foundation is committed to preventing vision loss through public service and education programs. Through its corps of 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists the program provides eye care services to the medically underserved and those at risk of eye disease. The program has served more than one million people since its inception.