Eye Health Campaign Highlights Leading Cause of Bindness in Diabetes
Mar 01, 2014
Celebrity chef, Andrew Rudd joined Diabetes Ireland, NCBI-the National Sight Loss Agency, Fighting Blindness, the Irish College of Ophthalmologists (ICO), the Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) and Novartis to support Eye Am What I Eat campaign. The campaign aimed to raise awareness of diabetic macular edema (DME) a form of diabetic retinopathy that can have a severe effect on vision, causing significant sight loss. Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes and is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults in Ireland1. In fact, Irish statistics show that on average, one person with diabetes goes blind in Ireland each week2. In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy may not affect the sight, but if the changes get worse, eventually the sight will be affected.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can include blurred vision and black spots or ‘floaters’ that appear to float in your eye. According to eye doctor Mark Cahill, spokesperson for the Irish College of Ophthalmologists and retinal specialist at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, “If diabetic retinopathy is not detected in the early stages, it can lead to vision impairment and even vision loss. 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 national campaign came to a close when Irish television and radio legend, Ronan Collins joined celebrity chef, Andrew Rudd in Andrew’s Dublin-based private dining venue, Medley, to host the ‘Eye Am What I Eat’ Cook-Off between four finalists whose recipes for eye health had caught the attention of the judges.
The campaign called on the Irish public to get involved by developing a recipe for eye health including one or more of the “Top 10 Foods for Eye Health” and a large number of recipe entries were submitted. Andrew Rudd, along with Senior Dietician from Diabetes Ireland, Sinead Hanley, were tasked with selecting four finalists to participate in the ‘Eye Am What I Eat’ Cook-Off.
The four finalists had their recipes prepared by Andrew Rudd and served to guests at the finalist event and Evelyn Cullen from Kildare was announced as the overall winner for her delicious and ‘eye-healthy’ Salmon Crust Pie. Her recipe was awarded the top accolade at the event due to its outstanding taste, along with the fact that it incorporated nine out of the ‘Top 10 foods for eye health’.
Speaking at the event, Sinead Hanley, Dietician, Diabetes Ireland, said: “A balanced diet is a crucial part of managing diabetes and maintaining healthy eyes as well as reducing the risk of developing DME and diabetic retinopathy. It is also important to ensure people with diabetes get their eyes screened regularly. The Eye Am What I Eat campaign is raising vital awareness of these facts and shows people how the foods you eat can have an effect on health in ways they might not have been aware of before.”
References: 1. Chou TH et al., Eye. 2009; 23: 1360-1363 2. NCBI, the National Sight loss Agency www.ncbi.ie