Population Health Topic

Population Health Focus for December:  Diabetic Eye Exams

According to the National Eye Institute (NEI) Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in American adults and is the most common diabetic disease. An estimated 40 to 45% of diabetic Americans experience some stage of diabetic retinopathy. From 2010 to 2050, the number of Americans with diabetic retinopathy is expected to nearly double, from 7.7 million to 14.6 million. Hispanic Americans are expected to see the greatest increase in cases, rising more than three-fold from 1.2 million to 5.3 million.

Diabetic eye disease can affect many parts of the eye, including the retina, macula, lens and the optic nerve.

  •  No Warning Signs – 50% of patients are not getting their eyes examined or are diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective. Patients normally don’t experience symptoms until their vision is already damaged.
  • Vision loss and blindness – Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes by damaging the retina. Over time, the blood vessels protecting the retina become blocked causing vision blurriness or loss. If left untreated, it could ultimately lead to blindness.
  • Annual comprehensive eye exams are crucial – A dilated eye exam allows for an eye care professional to notice the early warning signs for this disease and prevent vision loss. Timely treatment and appropriate follow-up care can reduce the risk of blindness by 95%
  • Refer your patients to an eye care provider today – You can find a detailed list of in-network providers via https://www.nepho.org/provider-directory/. As the NEPHO Health Coach I am able to help your patients schedule eye exams when needed.

 Lucia Kmiec
NEPHO Health Coach