What is diabetic eye disease?
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication of the disease. Diabetic eye disease includes cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in adults 20–74 years of age. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk is of developing diabetic eye disease.
Why is it important to raise awareness about diabetic eye disease?
Many people with diabetes are unaware that diabetic eye disease often has no early symptoms. All people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can develop diabetic eye disease, but some groups are affected more than others. African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Hispanics/Latinos, and older adults are at higher risk of losing vision or going blind from diabetes. The numbers are alarming and growing steadily. NEI estimates the following:
More prevalence data is available from NEI.
Early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care can help reduce severe vision loss from diabetes by 95 percent.
How to stay on TRACK to protect vision
Diabetic eye disease often has no symptoms in its early stages, and the only way to detect it is through a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Other things that people with diabetes can do to delay or slow down the progression of diabetic eye disease include:
T — Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.
R — Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
A — Add more physical activity to your daily routine.
C — Control your ABCs—A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
K — Kick the smoking habit.
View the TRACK infographic.
Where to find more information about diabetic eye disease
Focus group findings on diabetic eye disease Learn what people with diabetes say about diabetic eye disease and general eye health.
Image library Use photos and graphics from our collection of images to enhance your outreach activities.
Publications catalog Find eye health resources from A to Z.
Research Get the latest findings from NEI-funded research.
Statistics See the latest prevalence data and projections.
Diabetic eye disease education partners
At the national level, NEHEP works closely with many diabetic eye disease education partners, including:
See the entire list of NEHEP partners and learn about the NEHEP Partnership.NEHEP also collaborates with state and community-based organizations to provide diabetic eye disease information. Contact us if your organization is interested in working with NEHEP.