Training being undertaken in Peru

World Diabetes Day: the hidden risk of blindness

November 2018

On World Diabetes Day, we’re shining a spotlight on the role that the Orbis family plays in eliminating one of the fastest growing causes of avoidable blindness – diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetes is considered the fastest growing health crisis of our time, with the number of adults suffering from diabetes set to jump from 425 million to 522 million by 2030. Shockingly, around 50% of sufferers remain undiagnosed.

Diabetic retinopathy affects an estimated one-third of people with diabetes and is the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in adults between 35-50.

Those living with diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and may potentially go blind over time as excessive blood sugar levels cause irreversible damage to the vessels in the retina.

Vietnamese patient Huong Le Thi Thanh post retinal surgery

Early detection of eye conditions through regular screening is crucial

While it can't be fully cured, effective treatments have been established that preserve vision and dramatically reduce the risk of vision loss, such as laser treatment and vitrectomy surgery.

Orbis is teaming up with governments, NGOs and key health partners in high-risk countries to build the infrastructure needed for early detection, and to integrate eye screenings into overall care for people with diabetes.

What Orbis does

  • Established screening services for children in remote areas of Bangladesh to ensure early detection of eye problems as a result of diabetes
  • Implemented quality diabetic care in China for rural patients by providing comprehensive training for eye professionals; collaborates with the Chinese Ministry of Health to address vision loss from diabetes
  • Trained eye health professionals in Peru to improve diabetic retinopathy screening, referrals and treatment
  • Works in partnership with other NGOs in Vietnam to improve access to eye health services – including screenings for diabetic patients

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