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Diabetes Mellitus, usually referred to as 'Diabetes' is unfortunately increasing worldwide. Incidence rates vary from 4 per cent to over 20 per cent in some countries. Thankfully great progress is being made in disease management but it is still a very prevalent disease.
The World Diabetes Foundation estimated 285 million people, corresponding to 6.4% of the world's adult population, lived with diabetes in 2010. The number is expected to grow to 438 million by 2030, corresponding to 7.8% of the adult population.
Diabetes and Visual Impairment
One of the side effects of diabetes can be visual impairment and possible blindness. The principal eye complications are glaucoma, cataracts and retinopathy. People with diabetes are 40% more likely to suffer from glaucoma than people without diabetes. (diabetes.org)
Incidence rates again vary worldwide but estimates of visual impairment vary from 2-10% depending on age and duration of diabetes. There is substantial diversity in the estimates of visual impairment. However if we assume even 2% of 285 million, we already reach at least 5 million. It is estimated that approximately 5-10% of blind people have lost their sight because of diabetic retinopathy. It is the leading cause of new blindness in working age people in the USA.