Diabetes mellitus is a global health problem. In 2014, it was estimated that 8.5% of the world's adult population had diabetes mellitus.
It is a chronic disease that can affect many organs of the body. Diabetes mellitus increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, amputations and visual impairment. It is in fact the most common cause of blindness in American adults.
Diabetes causes a build up of high levels of sugar in the body that can harm nerves and blood vessels including those in the eyes. It damages the tiny blood vessels located in the retina (the back of the eyes), causing a series of eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, macular oedema, cataract and glaucoma. These can lead to severe vision loss and blindness.
Early detection, prompt treatment and good follow-up can help to prevent vision loss in people with diabetic eye diseases. People living with diabetes should actually have a complete eye examination yearly.