Why is November Diabetes Awareness Month?

In 1991, the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization created World Diabetes Day in response to the steady increase in diabetes cases. The day chosen for the event is November 14, as this is the birthday of Frederick Banting, co-discoverer of insulin with Charles Best, in 1921.

Diabetes and Eye Health

Diabetes is a disease that prevents your body from making or using insulin and causes sugar levels in the bloodstream to rise. It's alarming how diabetes can devastate the human body. The changes can affect energy levels, body weight or skin. 

Diabetes can also be responsible for many vision problems. When not properly controlled, there is an excess of sugar in the blood causing the blood vessels that supply the eye to thicken and harden and no longer do their job properly.

People with diabetes often develop cataracts at a younger age than others. Glaucoma is more common, and 40-45% of people with diabetes will develop diabetic retinopathy (damage to the tissue in the back part of the eye called the retina). It is the most common cause of blindness for people under 65 years of age. 

The retina perceives light as it enters the eye and is essential for good vision. In diabetic retinopathy, the vessels that supply blood to the retina have been damaged by high blood glucose levels.

People with diabetes who also have high blood pressure are at much greater risk of diabetic retinopathy because high blood pressure can damage the retina. 

If you have diabetes, it is of utmost importance to see your trusted optometrist for a complete eye exam including fundus imaging. To book your appointment, click here.