The American Diabetes Association (ADA) have announced a new collaboration with VSP® Vision Care, a VSP Global® company which serves nearly 90 million members as the largest and only national not-for-profit vision benefits provider, to focus on an often overlooked but costly and devastating complication of diabetes: eye disease. This initiative will focus on the crucial role annual comprehensive eye exams play in the early detection, intervention and prevention of eye disease and vision loss caused by diabetes.
“Diabetic eye disease is one of the complications of diabetes, affecting a third or more of people with diabetes over age 40,” said Tracey D. Brown, CEO of the American Diabetes Association. “Fortunately, we can effectively manage and even prevent diabetic eye disease with early detection and treatment. With VSP, we are positioned to make this happen. Preventing these complications is key!”
There are 30 million American adults living with diabetes. Another 84 million are living with prediabetes, yet 90% of them don’t know they have it. People living with diabetes or prediabetes face increased risk for glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic macular edema and diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in working age adults. The cost of diabetes to individuals and society continues to skyrocket, with an economic burden on the healthcare system in the United States estimated at $139 billion for vision related disorders alone. For those living with diabetes, an annual eye exam is a must – offering a simple way to prevent or delay disease and vision loss caused by diabetes.
The new eye health initiative will be multi-pronged in order to meet all those affected by or at risk for diabetes related eye disease. The initiative will include concerted efforts to:
- raise awareness and provide actions for those who may be at risk for a diabetes related eye disease;
- provide patient support and education to those affected by it; and
- educate healthcare professionals about diabetes related eye disease and how to prevent it
“The diabetes epidemic affects the daily lives of millions of Americans and adds to an already strained healthcare system looking for solutions,” said Michael Guyette, President and CEO of VSP Global. “With the delay in diagnosis being one of the most pressing problems still to be solved with diabetes, together with the American Diabetes Association, we’re committed to raising awareness of the crucial role an optometrist plays as an accessible part of a person’s healthcare team, providing a pathway to early detection and ongoing management of disease.”
The new eye health initiative will be launching in 2020 as part of the ADA’s Overcoming Therapeutic Inertia campaign to accelerate care, treatment and early intervention to improve the lives of people living with and those caring for people with diabetes. Additional campaign resources and updates will be released in the coming months.