Prevent Blindness Declares Second Annual Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) Awareness Week to Help Educate the Public on Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Resources for Care
-- National non-profit group, Prevent Blindness, offers no-cost educational materials, including fact sheets, graphics, and dedicated website to provide information on Thyroid Eye Disease --
Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest nonprofit eye health and safety organization, has declared Nov. 14-20, 2021 as the second annual “Thyroid Eye Disease Awareness (TED) Week.” As part of this initiative, Prevent Blindness will be promoting its TED resources including the dedicated webpage, fact sheets in English and Spanish, and posting a series of graphics on its social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Additionally, Prevent Blindness will debut its newest episode in the Focus on Eye Health Expert Series, “Thyroid Eye Disease” featuring Dr. Sara Wester, Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, TED specialist and Oculoplastic Surgeon. The interview also features TED patient, Mr. Stephen Bander, who shares his personal experience with the disease. TED Awareness Week is supported by Horizon Therapeutics, a global biotechnology company focused on rare, autoimmune and severe inflammatory diseases. Prevent Blindness is also joining with Horizon Therapeutics in support of the new “IdentifEYE TED” educational campaign, designed to help people more quickly identify the signs and symptoms of TED.
Thyroid Eye Disease (TED), sometimes called Graves’ ophthalmopathy or Graves’ Eye Disease, is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system causes inflammation and swelling and stimulates the production of muscle tissue and fat behind the eye. While TED often occurs in people living with hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease, TED is a distinct disease requiring separate treatment.
According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, TED affects more women than men, although men are more likely to have a severe form of the disease. Those who have a family member with the disease or a family member with an autoimmune disease are at a greater risk of developing the TED, and it is more likely to occur during middle age. The estimated prevalence of thyroid eye disease is estimated to be 16 per 100,000 women in the general population, and 2.9 per 100,000 men in the general population.
TED has a variety of symptoms including:
Dry, gritty and irritated eyes
Red eyes and/or watery eyes
Sensitivity to light
Blurry or double vision
Appearance of misaligned eyes
Bulging eyes (called proptosis) and lid retraction
Because TED may affect both vision and physical appearance, some TED patients may experience changes to their mental health, including depression, anxiety and self-consciousness. Prevent Blindness strongly advises patients with TED and their caregivers to talk to their doctor about any changes to their emotional well-being, to seek out support groups for those who have TED, and to avoid isolation by staying connected with family and friends.
“As with so many eye diseases and conditions, the earlier TED is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chance to save sight,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “We encourage everyone to talk to their doctor about the best ways to protect their sight and find treatments that are right for them.”
For more information on Thyroid Eye Disease, please visit https://preventblindness.org/thyroid-eye-disease/ or FOCUSonTED.com.
November Declared as Diabetes-related Eye Disease Month to Educate Public on Potential Impact of Vision Loss and Blindness from Diabetes
Diabetes continues to have a profound impact on the health of populations around the world. With the aging population and the significant increase in diabetes cases, the number of people living with diabetes-related eye disease continues to rise.
Data from “The Diabetic Retinopathy Barometer Report: Global Findings” from the International Federation on Ageing (IFA), the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), shows an estimated 415 million adults living with diabetes in 2015, globally. By 2040, this number is set to rise to 642 million, constituting some 10 percent of the global adult population aged between 20 and 79 years. Additionally, approximately one in three people living with diabetes has some degree of diabetes-related retinopathy (DR), and one in 10 will develop a vision-threatening form of the disease, according to the IAPB.
Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest nonprofit eye health and safety organization, has declared November as Diabetes-related Eye Disease Month to provide the public with important information on the impact that diabetes can have on vision, and offer tools and programs to help prevent significant vision loss from the disease. The group has created a variety of resources including a dedicated webpage providing detailed information on diabetes-related eye diseases, and downloadable fact sheets in English and Spanish, and shareable social media graphics.
Prevent Blindness has also developed the Diabetes & the Eyes Educational Toolkit with free materials on diabetes and the impact of diabetes on eye health in English and Spanish. These educational resources are intended for healthcare professionals, community health educators, and those in a caregiving or diabetes education role. The toolkit includes fact sheets, presentations and shareable social media graphics.
According to the Diabetic Retinopathy Barometer Report: Global Findings study, those with diabetes have a relatively high awareness of the complications associated with diabetes, and vision loss was by far the most concerning in many countries. Respondents shared that vision loss resulting from DR including Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), can affect their lives in a variety of ways including:
autonomy and lifestyle choices (one in three had difficulties driving a car; a quarter had trouble working or keeping a job; and even completing basic household responsibilities, such as cooking or cleaning, became difficult for many); restricted social life, with many challenges and uncertainties about their ability to travel, to undertake leisure activities, and to interact with family and friends;
increased difficulty in managing their underlying diabetes, including the ability to exercise; and
ability to undertake paid work, which has the potential of escalating the economic and social care burden, personally and on a larger scale.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that early detection and treatment, when warranted, can prevent or delay blindness due to DR in 90 percent of people with diabetes. But, 50 percent or more of them do not get their eyes examined or are diagnosed too late for treatment to provide its maximum effectiveness.
The longer someone has diabetes, the higher their risk for developing DR including DME. As more children are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, leading to cases of DR including DME potentially at earlier ages, the need for interventions and treatment as soon as they are appropriate, before substantial vision loss has occurred, is becoming more crucial. Important findings from the new National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) study “Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth (TODAY),” show that:
Within 15 years of a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, 60 percent of participants had at least one diabetes-related complication, and nearly a third of participants had two or more complications.
51 percent had eye disease.
Participants who belonged to a minority racial or ethnic group, or who had high blood glucose, high blood pressure, and dyslipidemia were at higher risk for developing a complication.
“Now, with more effective treatments than ever, it is so important for those with diabetes to receive a diagnosis and initiate treatment as soon as it is indicated to maximize vision,” said Dr. Neil M. Bressler, Editor in Chief of JAMA Ophthalmology. “This only can happen if we work together to educate the public, provide access to essential eyecare services and treatments, and continue to fund research that will help put an end to vision loss, including blindness, from diabetes.”
For more information on diabetes-related eye disease, please visit https://preventblindness.org/diabetes-and-your-eyes/ or call Prevent Blindness at (800) 331-2020. For a free listing of organizations and services that provide financial assistance for vision care in English or Spanish, please visit https://preventblindness.org/vision-care-financial-assistance-information/.