DED Toolkit


How do Diabetes-Related Eye Conditions develop, what are they and are they linked?

People living with diabetes and who have irregular blood glucose levels are at high risk of developing diabetes-related ocular diseases. To reduce this risk, it’s essential to maintain stable blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels. Regular screening is also a crucial part of the process to mitigate the impact of disease, as it allows for the diagnosis of conditions in their early stages and slows their progression.

Diabetes-related eye diseases occur directly as a result of chronic high blood glucose levels disturbing the normal function of all parts of the eye and disrupting signalling networks in all parts of the eye.

The spectrum of diabetes-related eye diseases is vast and includes diabetes-related retinopathy, diabetes-related macular edema, diabetes-related cataract, diabetes-related glaucoma, diabetes-related uveitis, diabetes-related keratopathy and diabetes-related dry eye syndrome. These conditions are not mutually exclusive and people living with diabetes may develop one or many of these eye conditions. For example, the advanced form of diabetes-related retinopathy can progress to diabetes-related macular edema. Diabetes-related retinopathy is of particular concern as it is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the working age population. However, intensive blood glucose control through diet and medication as outlined in detail in the diabetes-related eye disease toolkit can prevent the onset of diabetes-related retinopathy by up to 76%.

An educational toolkit for a multi-stakeholder audience related to Diabetes-related Eye Diseases

The objective of this toolkit is to give you an overview of diabetes-related eye diseases, beginning with descriptions of type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes and how management of these conditions can impact on eye health. Diabetes-related eye diseases are a collection of eye conditions that people living with diabetes are vulnerable to, including the most sight threatening diabetes-related retinopathy and diabetes-related macular edema. 

Although 400 million people worldwide are living with diabetes threatening vision loss, appropriate diabetes care, screening and therapy can help to significantly delay and reduce the effects of diabetes on our eyes. The diabetes-related eye disease toolkit was designed with this focus in mind and aims to contribute relevant and updated information to support patients, caregivers and professionals.



Globally, 145 million people are living with some form of diabetes-related retinopathy, 45 million of whom are at risk of losing their sight. This is preventable. For individuals and families diagnosed with any form of diabetes, access to relevant, detailed and clearly understandable information is essential.

The diabetes-related eye disease toolkit provides timely and accurate information to patients, their families and professionals (Eye Care Professionals, Advocates) on diabetes-related eye conditions. This site was developed to help individuals and their families understand the importance of timely screening, diagnosis and intervention to maintain good eye health, while also educating them on the various eye diseases associated with diabetes.

This toolkit also supplies professionals with the relevant information to advocate for education regarding the impact of diabetes on eye health, the implementation of screening programmes, as well as improved services for affected individuals, and funding of relevant research to help support development and reimbursement of innovative therapies.

The diabetes-related eye disease toolkit has benefited from input from a wide range of individuals and organisations that supported content development and review, in addition to website design and testing. Images and videos have come from a wide range of organisations, including ICON plc and Hoffmann-La Roche. This site has been supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Novartis and Roche.

We hope that this toolkit is useful for you and look forward to your feedback and suggestions.