PERSPECTIVES

3 reasons why we need to raise diabetic eye disease awareness

At Oxurion, we develop novel treatments for back of the eye disorders. Research and development are crucial factors in our quest to increase patients’ access to therapies, but so is raising awareness through meaningful partnerships - such as with Retina Global and Prevent Blindness. In this post, we’ll discuss why we need to raise awareness about diabetic eye disease and how Oxurion has been helping to spread the message.

1/ Diabetic eye disease affects millions, worldwide

Did you know that 1.3 billion¹ people live with some form of vision impairment? Did you know that 36 million¹ of those people are actually blind? 90% of all visual disabilities are caused by chronic eye diseases – a significant portion of which are diabetic back of the eye disorders. For example, 93 million adults worldwide² are affected by diabetic retinopathy and 2.2 million Americans³ suffer from dry AMD. Seeing as the population keeps growing and aging, these numbers will keep rising dramatically over the next years.

Diabetic eye disease affects so many people. Yet still, many people remain unaware of the risks of not getting regular check-ups. Moreover, medically rather than socially, we see a high unmet need for diagnosing and treating these diseases. All the more reason for us to help raise awareness and keep developing medical treatments for diabetic back of the eye disorders.

Source: https://www.austinvillageeye.com

2/ No symptoms, no diagnosis

Research suggests that 25% – 40% of all diabetes patients are currently undiagnosed⁴. That’s not surprising, because many symptoms of diabetes are rather vague. Patients might feel tired, be unusually thirsty or urinate frequently and don’t think much of it. Visual symptoms are equally vague, because back of the eye diseases typically don’t show any clear symptoms in their early stages. By the time patients notice anything, irreversible eye damage has already been done. We want to raise more awareness among risk groups, such as elderly and obese people, so that they’d go for annual eye check-ups and get a timely diagnosis and suitable treatment. Eye damage cannot be cured or reversed, but we can control the symptoms and ensure a good quality of life when patients are diagnosed in time.

In an effort to help spread diabetic eye disease awareness to the public, Oxurion has partnered with American non-profit organisation Prevent Blindness. For more than a century, Prevent Blindness has been the patient advocate for healthy vision in the USA.

Thanks to Oxurion’s support, Prevent Blindness has been able to get the message across powerfully and efficiently. They’ve enabled us to fully exploit the possibilities of classic and social media. During Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness month in November 2018, for instance, we worked closely together and reached a significant number of people. “Thanks to partnerships between the research industry and nonprofit organizations we can have an impact that stretches far beyond the medical and the scientific.” says Jeff Todd, CEO and President of Prevent Blindness.

3/ Developing countries need more retinal care and education

Diagnosing back of the eye diseases in time is always tricky, because patients hardly experience any symptoms in early stages. Evidently, this is a globally occurring problem because of the nature of the disease. However, patients and doctors in developing countries face a few other socio-economic challenges on top of that:

  • Patients lack access to routine retinal care, because there aren’t enough eye specialists.
  • There’s not enough equipment, e.g. to make retinal scans.
  • People would rather visit their general practitioner than an eye specialist.
    GP’s don’t always know how to diagnose or treat diabetic eye disease.
  • People struggle to get to the clinic to get treatment.

In order to help overcome these challenges, Oxurion has partnered with Retina Global. Retina Global is a non-profit organization wants to help people in developing countries. They aim to treat and prevent blindness caused by retinal diseases.

Retina Global has just launched BOLDR (Bolivian Diabetic Retinopathy), a project committed to providing retinal care and  education in Bolivia. The project strives for easy access to retinal care, better medical equipment, certified courses for medical professionals and empowering the community. “Oxurion is truly committed to providing care around the globe. We’re excited to see what the future brings so that we can help even more patients!” says Rajat Agrawal, MD, CEO of Retina global.

¹ Research Report: Back of the Eye Disorders: Novel Drugs and Delivery Technologies, 2018-2030, Roots Analysis
² https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3322721/ 
³ “The Future of Vision; Forecasting the Prevalence And Costs of Vision Problems”, www.norc.org
www.idf.org

Cantilis
Jeff Todd

President & CEO Prevent Blindness US

Cantilis
Rajat Agrawal

MD, CEO Retina Global