MANAGING THE EFFECTS OF DIABETES WITH INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. It's caused by damage to the blood vessels at the back of the eye (retina) that reflect light which creates vision. The condition can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Approximately 40% of patients diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of Diabetic Retinopathy but less than half of them are aware of it. The longer a patient has diabetes and the less controlled blood sugar is, the more likely they are to develop this eye complication. Diabetic Retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss in people with diabetes and a leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in working-age adults, yet early detection and treatment can reduce vision loss by 90%. The barriers to recommended eye examinations are numerous and include socioeconomic factors and poor geographical access to care. Recent advances in digital imaging have opened new avenues for assessing retinopathy, which will provide better access to diagnosis and management for this treatable, but often blinding, condition. Thanks to the support of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina and the Dogwood Health Trust every BRH patient with a diabetes diagnosis will be able to receive retinal screening. By training our primary care providers and diabetes treatment professionals who have the greatest opportunity to educate patients with diabetes or those at risk, BRH will be able to provide regular eye examinations as part of these patients’ routine healthcare exams. “APPROXIMATELY 40% OF PATIENTS DIAGNOSED WITH DIABETES HAVE SOME STAGE OF DIABETIC RETINOPATHY, BUT LESS THAN HALF OF THEM ARE AWARE OF IT.”

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