Sadly, it is estimated that more than 200 million people have diabetes. They are at risk of losing sight due to diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy affects the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that transmits visual messages via the optic nerve to the brain. When this delicate tissue is damaged by diabetic retinopathy, the result may be visual impairment or blindness.

Diabetes awareness was adopted as a long-term commitment of the association in March 1984. The primary objective of the Lions program is to reduce the number of new cases of blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy through diabetes education, early detection and treatment, and support of research.

Why is it important to know how diabetes affects the eyes?

If you have diabetes--or if someone close to you has this disease--you should know that diabetes can affect the eyes and cause visual impairment. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent or lessen damage to the eyes caused by diabetes. That is why it is so important for people with this disease to have a professional eye examination as soon as their diabetes is diagnosed, and at least once a year thereafter.

Annual eye examinations are especially important for people who have a high risk of developing eye complications from diabetes. These include persons with diabetes who have had their disease five years or longer, and those who have difficulty controlling glucose levels in their blood.

In addition, pregnancy is known to be a factor in the development or worsening of diabetic eye disease. There is evidence to suggest that high blood pressure and smoking may cause diabetic eye disease to worsen.

Diabetes Awareness

The Lions Diabetes Awareness Program was introduced in 1984. Lions became involved in diabetes education because diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among people between the ages of 20 to 74. Lions remain active in educating the public about the importance of preventing diabetes by: eating properly, avoiding obesity & exercising 

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