Campaign launched to fight leading cause of blindness

A new campaign has been launched to raise awareness about the leading cause of blindness in working-age people in Ireland - diabetic macular edema (DME ).

The campaign is run by Diabetes Ireland, national sight loss agency NCBI, Fighting Blindness, the Irish College of Ophthalmologists (ICO ), the Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI ) and Novartis.

The Eye Am What I Eat campaign aims to raise awareness about the benefits of eating well and maintaining a health lifestyle for eye health.

DME is a form of diabetic retinopathy, which is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults in Ireland.

Irish statistics show that on average, one person with diabetes goes blind in Ireland each week.

According to eye doctor Mark Cahill, spokesperson for the Irish College of Ophthalmologists and retinal specialist at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, early detection is key.

“If diabetic retinopathy is not detected in the early stages, it can lead to vision impairment and even vision loss,” he explained. “Eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are hugely important but it is also essential for anyone with diabetes to have their eyes screened annually in order to detect the signs of diabetic retinopathy as early as possible.”

The Eye Am What I Eat campaign, supported by celebrity chef Andrew Rudd, is asking people to get involved and help raise awareness about DME by developing a recipe for eye health. The recipes should include one or more of the campaign’s list of ‘Top 10 Foods for Eye Health’.

The top foods are avocados, carrots, broccoli, eggs, spinach, kale, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, garlic and salmon.

All recipes must be submitted at www.eyeamwhatIeat.ie or via post to Eye Am What I Eat, c/o Pembroke Communications, 5th Floor, Whitaker Court, Whitaker Square, Dublin 2 by 5 pm on Monday, July 7.

Four finalists will be shortlisted by the judging panel and invited to attend the final event on Wednesday, July 23, at Medley, Andrew’s private dining venue in Dublin City Centre, where the recipes will be prepared by Andrew and an overall winner will be selected.

For further information on diabetic retinopathy and the risks associated with diabetes, please visit www.diabetes.ie

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