This year marks a 100-year anniversary in the diabetes community. In 1921, Frederick Banting and Charles Best co-discovered insulin at the University of Toronto. In the century since the breakthrough, insulin has saved and improved the lives of millions of people with diabetes across the globe.

Why is World Diabetes Day on November 14 important for the eye care professionals?

  • Every person with diabetes is at risk of going blind. Approximately 1/3 of people with diabetes develop some form of eye health complication, which if left untreated can have devastating and wide ranging social and economic impacts on them, their families, and communities.
  • Currently 145 million people have diabetic retinopathy (DR) and 45 million have vision threatening DR, globally. By 2040, it is estimated that 224 million people will have DR and 70 million will have vision-threatening DR.
  • Almost all vision impairment and blindness from diabetes-related eye disease can be prevented through effective diabetes management, early detection of eye problems through regular eye exams, and timely treatment.
  • There is limited awareness that diabetes can cause vision impairment and irreversible blindness. Financial and geographical barriers that impact access to eye health services mean that many people with diabetes do not have accessible, vital, sight-saving services.

Specsavers’ commitment to transforming eye health

Every 24 hours, 480 more Canadians are diagnosed with diabetes and it is predicted to rise to 5 million (12% of the population) by 2025. With the scale of this challenge, professionals across the healthcare network need strong, innovative action and improved collaboration to bring eye health to the frontline of diabetes care.

In Australia, Specsavers established KeepSight in 2019, a national initiative to provide seamless eye care for people with diabetes. Within two years, the initiative registered over 200,000 people with diabetes to promote and encourage regular eye care for the prevention of diabetes-related complications.

As the world’s largest optometrist-led business, Specsavers remains dedicated to partnering with allied healthcare professionals, patients, professional associations, schools, and ministries to help transform eye health for all. This is just another reason why Specsavers is committed to providing OCT scans for every patient — to support early detection and monitoring of diabetic retinopathy.

Learn more about Specsavers efforts to transform eye health.