Following the ‘Eye Am What I Eat’ campaign earlier this year, Diabetes Ireland, supported by Novartis, has today launched a new recipe booklet, ‘Eating For Your Eye Health’, to help people with diabetes to eat well for good eye health. The campaign aimed to raise awareness of diabetic macular edema (DME), a form of diabetic retinopathy that can have a severe effect on vision, causing significant sight loss.
Sinead Hanley, Senior Dietitian at Diabetes Ireland, explains “Following a healthy lifestyle by taking regular physical activity and achieving a healthy weight through a balanced diet is the key to managing your diabetes and maintaining healthy eyes and reducing the risk of developing DME and diabetic retinopathy. It is also important to ensure people with diabetes get their eyes screened regularly.”
Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes and is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults in Ireland1. In fact, Irish statistics show that on average, one person with diabetes goes blind in Ireland each week2. In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy will not affect the sight, but if the changes get worse, eventually the sight will be affected. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can include blurred vision and black spots or ‘floaters’ that appear to float in your eye
The National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme, ‘Diabetic RetinaScreen’ offers free, regular diabetic retinopathy screening to all people with diabetes, aged 12 and older. Through the programme, people who are registered are invited to attend for screening. When people get the letter of invitation, they need to call the Freephone number listed on their letter to make an appointment. This will go a long way to maintaining healthy eyes and preventing vision loss in people with diabetes.
“Unfortunately, many people with diabetes are not taking up their invitation to make an appointment.
I cannot express strongly enough how important it is for everyone, on receipt of their invitation letter, to ring for their appointment. Attending for regular eye screening appointments will significantly improve your chances of avoiding eye problems in the future”, added Sinead.
The ‘Eating For Your Eye Health’ recipe booklet covers an introduction to diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, with information on general healthy eating guidelines and the top 10 foods for eye health. There are 26 recipes which are colourful, easy to prepare and suitable for all those with diabetes and their families.
Download Healthy Eating for eyes here
For media enquiries/interview opportunities, please contact:
Gary Brady on 01 8428118
Note to Editors:
Top 10 Foods for Eye Health
Avocados; Carrots; Broccoli; Eggs; Spinach; Kale; Tomatoes; Sunflower Seeds; Garlic; Salmon
About Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema:
Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes. In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy will not affect the sight, but if the changes get worse, eventually the sight will be affected. Diabetic related sight loss is the most common form of blindness in people of working age. In about 10% of cases, diabetic macular edema (DME) may occur where blood vessels leak their contents into the macular region of the retina and this may cause a more rapid form of vision loss. The good news is that with regular and effective retina screening, DME can be caught early and treated effectively.
About “Diabetic RetinaScreen”
Diabetic RetinaScreen – The National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme is a new, government-funded screening programme that offers free, regular diabetic retinopathy screening to people with diabetes aged 12 years and older. For further information visit www.diabeticretinascreen.ie or Freephone 1800 45 45 55.
About Diabetes Ireland
Diabetes Ireland is the national charity dedicated to providing support, education and motivation to all people affected by diabetes. Diabetes Ireland also raises public awareness of diabetes and its symptoms and funds research into diabetes. See www.diabetes.ie
‘Eye Am What I Eat’ Campaign
The ‘Eye Am What I Eat’ Campaign took place this year from May – July, and was supported by Diabetes Ireland, NCBI-the National Sight Loss Agency, Fighting Blindness, the Irish College of Ophthalmologists (ICO), the Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) and Novartis. The campaign aimed to raise awareness of diabetic macular edema (DME), a form of diabetic retinopathy that can have a severe effect on vision, causing significant sight loss. The campaign competition was designed to promote the benefits of eating for eye health in order to prevent vision loss due to diabetes. To get involved people were invited to develop a recipe for eye health, and include in the recipe one or more of the “Top 10 Foods for Eye Health” (listed at above). Four finalists were shortlisted by the judging panel and the winning recipes are featured in the Eating for you Eye Health recipe booklet. The judges were looking for a balanced, healthy recipes that tasted good and used one or more of the top 10 foods for eye health.
- Chou TH et al., Eye. 2009; 23: 1360-1363
- NCBI, the National Sight loss Agency www.ncbi.ie