American Diabetes Association, with Visionary Partners VSP Vision Care and Regeneron Launch “The Next Step Eye Challenge” Campaign for Healthy Vision Month in May

ARLINGTON, Va., May 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Over 34 million American adults currently live with diabetes and an additional 88 million are living with prediabetes, yet 85% of them do not know they have it. People living with diabetes or prediabetes are at an increased risk for developing a diabetes-related eye disease, such as diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma, and cataracts. Even more troubling, recent polls indicate that 1 in 4 people are putting off their annual eye exams due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, vision loss from diabetes-related eye disease is 95% preventable with early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care.

In observance of Healthy Vision Month in May, Focus on Diabetes™—a multi-year initiative that brings together the American Diabetes Association® (ADA) and Visionary Partners, VSP® Vision Care and Regeneron to increase awareness about diabetes and eye health, launched The Next Step Eye Challenge to raise awareness

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Bacteria live on our eyeballs — and understanding their role could help treat common eye diseases

<span class="caption">The eye has a collection of microbes living on the surface that keep it healthy. </span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/human-eye-medical-detail-1345654691?src=3EN65aoLrSklI70CS0rGYw-1-0&studio=1" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:photoJS/Shutterstock.com">photoJS/Shutterstock.com</a></span>
The eye has a collection of microbes living on the surface that keep it healthy. photoJS/Shutterstock.com

You may be familiar with the idea that your gut and skin are home to a collection of microbes – fungi, bacteria and viruses – that are vital for keeping you healthy. But did you know that your eyes also host a unique menagerie of microbes? Together, they’re called the eye microbiome. When these microbes are out of balance – too many or too few of certain types – eye diseases may emerge.

With a recent study showing bacteria live on the surface of the eye and stimulate protective immunity, scientists are beginning to discover the microbial factors that can be exploited to create innovative therapies for a range of eye disorders like Dry Eye Disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome and corneal scarring. One day it may be possible to engineer bacteria to

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