Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Tomorrow, March 26, 2024, is Diabetes Alert Day: Increasing Awareness and Reducing Complications, Including Vision Loss

The fourth Tuesday in March, the 26th in 2024, is observed each year as Diabetes Alert Day by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). This occasion serves as a “wake-up call” that focuses on the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of understanding your risk.” One of the risks for people with diabetes is vision loss. About one in three people with diabetes over the age of 40 shows signs of diabetic retinopathy, the most common cause of vision loss among those with diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults aged 18–64 years. The risk of blindness, however, can be reduced “by 95 percent” by “identifying and treating retinopathy early.” Individuals with diabetes are also at greater risk of developing glaucoma or cataracts. Regular medical care, including eye exams, is a critical component of controlling diabetes and preventing or reducing the impact of diabetic eye disease. The “best way to check for eye problems from diabetes” is to have a comprehensive, dilated eye exam, generally at least once a year or whatever is recommended by the health care team. Lifestyle is important as well. “To prevent diabetic eye disease, or to keep it from getting worse, manage your diabetes ABC’s: your A1c (which shows average blood glucose levels over the past three months), blood pressure, and cholesterol; and quit smoking if you smoke.” For additional information about the commemoration, read the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD) webpage on Diabetes Alert Day®. To learn more about vision-related concerns, read the NIDDKD webpage on Diabetic Eye Disease and the ADA webpage on Eye Health.