World Diabetes Day

Diabetic retinopathy, the silent and little known illness

Diabetic retinopathy is a serious complication of diabetes : for diabetic people, the constant presence and elevated quantities of sugar in the blood impairs the small arteries of organs. In this case the health of the retina is crucial to the eye.
Diabetic retinopathy does not show any signs of its presence until the appearance of severe visual problems, which have become more difficult to treat at this late stage. These visual deficiencies can include haemhorrages, retinal detachment and finally blindness.

Diabetes in the world

Diabetes is considered an important problem for Public Health. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the major causes of visual deficiencies. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that in 2010 the number of people suffering from diabetes reached around 221 million, many of which live in the developing world.

The OPC fights against this disease in Niger, Guinea and Mali

  1. On the front line
    taking care to control diabetes to prevent complications, particularly ocular complications, is introduced in the training courses for our front line health professionals
  2. On a second level
    the OPC works to :
    - dedicate time on radio programmes to its information campaigns about diabetetic illnesses and the risk of loss of vision linked to this disease
    - encourage general practitioners to carry out an annual eye exam on their diabetic patients in order to detect any signs of diabetic retinopathy before any visual deterioration occurs

France is concerned

In France, diabetic retinopathy is the first cause of blindness before 65 years. After 15 years of diabetes, around 2% of French diabetics are blind and 10% suffer from a visual deficiency. In France, around 1,000 people become blind every year due diabetic retinopathy, and many more suffer from poor vision.


We would like to advise sufferers of diabetes that your eyes are fragile, and without you even knowing, your illness can seriously damage your retina. In order to preserve your sight, get your eyes tested at least once a year by your ophthalmologist or screening centre.
Addresses of screening centres in France, click HERE