You can manage your diabetes.
But can you manage going blind?1

Open Your Eyes To Diabetic Blindness (DB) is a multichannel initiative created by Genentech to help raise awareness about the risk of Diabetic Blindness and to educate on the importance of early screening. Today, several eye screening options exist. The availability of innovative and portable imaging technology, which does not require dilation, may provide an alternative screening option in addition to standard dilation screenings for people living with diabetes.2-4

Diabetic Blindness is the #1 cause of blindness in working-age adults across the U.S. And a simple eye exam may be the #1 way to prevent it.1

Ask your doctor about getting a diabetic eye exam today, and consult your insurance provider to determine coverage of screening options in your area

Information should not replace the directions and advice of the healthcare provider.

Imagine Life Blind

It may be hard to imagine going blind with diabetes. Watch this video and see what it's really like. And help spread the word about Diabetic Blindness by sharing this video with everyone you know.

Information should not replace the directions and advice of the healthcare provider.

What is Diabetic Blindness? (DB)

DB, also known as diabetic retinopathy, is a condition that affects people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. When there is too much sugar in the blood, it causes the blood vessels in the retina to swell or leak fluid or bleed. This kind of damage to the retina can lead to poor vision, and even blindness. That's because the retina is part of the eye in charge of helping you see things clearly.1,5

The longer you live with diabetes, the higher your chance of going blind. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting regular eye exams can help reduce your risk of Diabetic Blindness.1

Affects Affects 20K People a year in the U.S. people a year in the U.S.6

Information should not replace the directions and advice of the healthcare provider.

See What Symptoms Can Look Like

Use the Viewfinder below to flip through a series of images that visualize how a person living with Diabetic Blindness might see their world.

Share this experience with a friend

Information should not replace the directions and advice of the healthcare provider.

How Do I Spot It?

You could have Diabetic Blindness and not even know it. That's because many people at risk of DB might not have symptoms. This is common in the early stages of the condition. But, over time, symptoms may include1:

  • Dark, slug-type objects in your visual field1,7

  • Blurred, distorted, or double vision1,7,8

  • "Floaters"—dots, circles, or lines that cloud your vision1,9

  • Trouble seeing or telling the difference between colors10

If not treated in time, DB can result in permanent distorted vision, vision loss, or even full blindness.1

Information should not replace the directions and advice of the healthcare provider.

Who's At Risk?

All people with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, are at risk for DB. In fact, between 40 to 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of DB. That's why it is so important to ask your doctor for a screening, whether you've just been diagnosed or have been managing your diabetes for a while. Other risk factors for DB include pregnancy, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight.1,11,12

How Can I Reduce My Risk For DB?

One of the main ways to reduce your risk of DB is to carefully control your diabetes. That means paying close attention to your blood sugar levels and keeping your A1C on target. The A1C goal for most people with diabetes is less than 7%.1,12,13

Information should not replace the directions and advice of the healthcare provider.

Tips for Keeping Your A1C in Check

  • Aim for a blood pressure at or below 140/80

    It's the blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes. Know that high blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the eyes and lead to DB.14,15

  • Maintain an LDL (bad) cholesterol goal of less than 100

    The goal is less than 70 for people with heart disease. That's because high cholesterol may increase the risk of DB.1,14

  • Get regular physical activity

    Keeping active is an important part of managing diabetes. Talk to your doctor about ways to exercise and stay fit.14

  • Be at a healthy weight

    Being overweight can increase the risk of problems related to diabetes, including DB.14

Information should not replace the directions and advice of the healthcare provider.

What Are MY Eye Exam Options?

For many years, a dilated eye exam has been the most commonly used option to help detect symptoms of Diabetic Blindness. During this exam, drops are placed in the eyes, causing the pupils to open widely. This is known as dilation. It allows the physician to get a good look at the inside of the eye, particularly the retina.1,16,17

Advances in technology allow for a doctor to take pictures of the back of the eye. These photos help detect signs of Diabetic Blindness. This image-based eye screening technology does not require dilation and may offer another option that's more convenient and takes less time.17,18*

With a non-dilation eye screening, you can:
Get screened in a
few minutes
Return to work
immediately
Drive right afterwards Go out without sunglasses

Remember, a doctor can spot the symptoms before you can, so be sure to schedule an exam this year and every year.1

*Some eye exams to test for DB are free to patients, but some are not. And not all testing options may be covered by an individual’s insurance. Talk to your health plan about available options and cost.19

Information should not replace the directions and advice of the healthcare provider.

Early Detection is Key1

According to American Academy of Ophthalmology recommendations4:

  • If you have type 1 diabetes

    Get an eye exam within 5 years after diabetes is diagnosed, and then one once every year

  • If you have type 2 diabetes

    Get an eye exam as soon as diabetes is diagnosed, and then one once every year

Information should not replace the directions and advice of the healthcare provider.

Talking Points For Your Eye Exam

The most important thing to bring to your eye exam is you. What else can you do?

  • Tell your doctor about any eye injuries you've experienced

  • Make a list of all the medications you're taking

  • Inform them of any family history of Diabetic Blindness or vision issues

  • Tell them your current eyewear, whether it's readers, prescription glasses and/or contacts

Scheduling an eye exam today could help 9 out of 10 people keep their eyesight tomorrow.1

Information should not replace the directions and advice of the healthcare provider.

References

  1. National Eye Institute. Facts about diabetic eye disease. https://nei.nih.gov/health/diabetic/retinopathy. Accessed January 15, 2016.

  2. Ting DSW, Tay-Kearney ML, Kanagasingam Y. Light and portable novel device for diabetic retinopathy screening. Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2012;40(1):e40-e46.

  3. Sengupta S, Newman-Casey PA, Sindal M, et al. Screening for diabetic retinopathy with a portable non-mydriatic fundus camera. Poster presented at: Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2015 Annual Meeting; May 3-7; Denver, CO. Poster 1427. http://www.arvo.org/webs/am2015/abstract/220.pdf. Accessed March 28, 2016.

  4. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Information Statement: Screening for Diabetic Retinopathy. San Francisco, CA: American Academy of Ophthalmology; 2014.

  5. National Institutes of Health, MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retina. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002291.htm. Accessed February 1, 2016.

  6. Khallick CA. Diabetic retinopathy and ehrlichia: the possible relationship. MEHDI Ophthalmol J. 2012;1(2):33-36.

  7. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. Prevent diabetes problems: keep your eyes healthy. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/prevent-diabetes-problems/Pages/keep-eyes-healthy.aspx. Accessed February 1, 2016.

  8. National Institutes of Health, MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Diabetic eye problems. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/diabeticeyeproblems.html. Accessed February 1, 2016.

  9. National Eye Institute. Facts about floaters. https://nei.nih.gov/health/floaters/floaters. Accessed February 2, 2016.

  10. Shrestha GS, Kaiti R. Visual functions and disability in diabetic retinopathy patients. J Optom. 2014;7:37-43.

  11. Long AN, Dagogo-Jack S. The comorbidities of diabetes and hypertension: mechanisms and approach to target organ protection. J Clin Hypertens. 2011;13(4):244-251.

  12. el Haddad OAW, Saad MK. Prevalence and risk factors for diabetic retinopathy among Omani diabetics. Br J Ophthalmol. 1998;82:901-906.

  13. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. The A1C test and diabetes. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/diagnostic-tests/a1c-test-diabetes/Pages/index.aspx. Accessed February 21, 2016.

  14. American Diabetes Association. Executive summary: standards of medical care in diabetes --2014. Diabetes Care. 2014; 37(Suppl 1):S5-S13.

  15. National Institute on Aging, US Department of Health & Human Services. High blood pressure. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/high-blood-pressure. Updated March 1, 2015. Accessed September 22, 2017.

  16. Wu L, Fernandez-Loaiza P, Sauma J, Hernandez-Bogantes E, Masis M. Classification of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. World J Diabetes. 2013;4(6): 290-294.

  17. Kernt M, Hadi I, Pinter F, et al. Assessment of diabetic retinopathy using nonmydriatic ultra-widefield scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (Optomap) compared with ETDRS 7-field stereo photography. Diabetes Care. 2014; 35(12):2459 -2463.

  18. Centers for Disease Control, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Ophthalmology procedures manual. www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhanes/nhanes_05_06/OP.pdf. Accessed February 1, 2016.

  19. Medicare.gov. Your Medicare coverage. https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/yearly-eye-exam.html. Accessed January 20, 2016.