BOSTON – March 23, 2007 – Did you know that diabetes is the number onecause of preventable vision loss and blindness? Did you also know that an annual eye examcan lead to early detection of diabetic retinopathy and other eye disease, a frequentcomplication of diabetes?
On Diabetes Alert Day, March 27 – a day set aside by the American Diabetes Association toraise public awareness of the rampant incidence of diabetes in our nation – the care teamat the world renowned Joslin Diabetes Center's Beetham Eye Institute reminds the 20.8million Americans with diabetes to schedule an annual eye exam. Joslin’s Beetham EyeInstitute clinicians have shown that an annual exam can provide early detection and helpprevent or delay 90 percent of cases of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy. Accordingto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetic retinopathy is a leading causeof blindness in adults, resulting in 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year.
Diabetic retinopathy, the most common eye disease in people with diabetes, occurs when thesmall blood vessels in the eye are damaged by high levels of glucose in the blood. Becausediabetic retinopathy can progress to advanced stages without the patient knowing it, it iscrucial to have annual eye exams to help preserve vision.
Joslin clinicians recommend a three-prong approach to preserving vision:
- Maintain excellent A1C levels. (The A1C is a test that measures average blood glucose levels over the 2 to 3 month period before the test.)
- Keep blood pressure, blood lipids and other health factors in check.
- Have an annual eye exam.
To watch a video on Joslin's Web site about the importance of annual eye exams, click here:http://www.joslin.org/754_871.asp
For more information about eye research and clinical trials at Joslin, click here:http://www.joslin.org/755_3819.asp
About the Beetham Eye Institute
Joslin Diabetes Center's Beetham Eye Institute is a world leader in diabetes eye care and inresearch to identify the causes of diabetic eye disease and to find new therapies to lessenthe risks of vision loss. The care team at the Beetham Eye Institute is dedicated todelivering the best and most personalized, compassionate care. For more information aboutBeetham Eye Institute services, click here: http://www.joslin.org/754_871.asp. For an appointment, call (617)732-2552.
The World Health Organization reports that approximately 150 million people worldwide havediabetes, and the number is projected to double by the year 2025. In the United States,diabetes affects an estimated 20.8 million children and adults – 7 percent of thepopulation. An estimated 14.6 million Americans have been diagnosed, leaving 6.2 millionAmericans unaware that they have the disease. In addition, 54 million Americans are thoughtto have pre-diabetes, or elevated blood glucose levels that put them at risk for developingtype 2 diabetes. If untreated or poorly treated, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidneydisease, stroke, nerve damage and circulation problems that can result in limb amputations.
About Joslin Diabetes Center
Joslin Diabetes Center, dedicated to conquering diabetes in all of its forms, is the globalleader in diabetes research, care and education. Founded in 1898, Joslin is an independentnonprofit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Joslin research is a team ofmore than 300 people at the forefront of discovery aimed at preventing and curing diabetes.Joslin Clinic, affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, thenationwide network of Joslin Affiliated Programs, and the hundreds of Joslin educationalprograms offered each year for clinicians, researchers and patients, enable Joslin todevelop, implement and share innovations that immeasurably improve the lives of people withdiabetes. As a nonprofit, Joslin benefits from the generosity of donors in advancing itsmission. For more information on Joslin, call 1-800-JOSLIN-1 or visit www.joslin.org