Happy World Sight Day!

October 8, 2020

 

Today, the 8th of October, World Sight Day is celebrated globally. This year´s theme is ´Hope In Sight´.

 

World Sight Day has been celebrated on the second Thursday of October since it was originally initiated by Lions Clubs International as part of the SightFirst Campaign in 1988 to raise public awareness of blindness and vision impairment. In 2000, World Sight Day became an official event of the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and has ever since been the focal advocacy and public relations occasion for the IAPB and its members and partners.

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around a billion people around the world have vision impairment that in the majority of cases can be treated, prevented or cured. Vision impairment or blindness can have major and long-lasting effects on all aspects of life, including daily activities, interacting with the community, education and work opportunities and the ability to access public services. Reduced eyesight can be caused by several factors, including diseases like diabetes and trachoma, trauma to the eyes, or conditions such as refractive error, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma.

 

This year’s celebration will be quite different from previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, there are a variety of interesting activities on offer to promote eye health awareness and access to quality eye care. Here are just two examples:

 

  • The IAPB, with support from Bayer, is organizing the International Photography Competition where amateur and professional photographers from around the world are invited to share photos highlighting the impact of eye health on people’s lives. In previous years, hundreds of photographers have shared their work which helps to create a great resource for the entire eye health sector as the photos are made available for use under a CreativeCommons licence.

 

 

For years, Lions Clubs around the world have organized various projects to focus attention on prevention of blindness, awareness of the importance of eye health and the need for quality eye care services for all. Many Lions Clubs have set up collection points within their communities for redundant spectacles and other resources for the sight-impaired although this year COVID-19 has made this work more challenging.

 

Other activities include taking part in awareness-raising walks, distributing and displaying posters, bookmarks, booklets and other forms of information that raise awareness of preventable blindness – some even plant trees to commemorate the day.

 

World Sight Day is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of eye health and ways to prevent vision loss. When was the last time you had an eye exam? What about your family, friends and colleagues?

 

We should all pledge this World Sight Day to take an eye exam—and encourage others to do the same. Let’s also use this fine occasion to encourage governments, corporations, institutions and individuals to actively support universal access to eye health. Blindness can be prevented in so many cases – so let’s make that happen!

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Introducing premium features

September 15, 2020 - Ægir Þór Steinarsson

At RetinaRisk we are always working towards better eye health for our users through development of features that enhance your understanding of your health and your diabetes condition. Our main focus is empowerment and availability of information to our users and our product development focus reflects that.

In the premium section of the RetinaRisk app you will find tools to dig deeper into the data and find out how your risk is progressing, set goals and share your data with third parties as well as analyse your results in detail. You will also be able to register your next eye screening and be reminded when it is approaching.

 

 

In the trends section you can discover how your risk is progressing over time in a simple graph where the latest risk calculations are plotted along with the values from each one. Below the graph you will find a list with each calculation in more detail so you can get a better overview of which variables are changing the most and which are more stable. Over time, you will build up a more complete picture of your situation which will allow you to focus on the things that matter the most to lower your risk.

 

To help you discuss your risk with an ophthalmologist, a physician or anyone else, we´ve made it possible for you to export all your risk results and share them with anyone you like through email, text messages or any other means that your phone supports. This can be accessed through the icon above the chart.

 

To make further use of the analysis tools, you can set goals as well that are displayed on the graph. This is a great way to set goals based on the analysis of your risk where you are given optimal levels to minimize risk.

 

To further help you visualize your goals, we display the risk level that would result from the goals you set on the main graph so you can see how you are progressing compared with your current risk level.

 

 

The premium section also enables you to dive deeper into your risk calculation, what the risk means, what factors are driving it and how to reduce those risk factors such as high blood pressure. The analysis will show you what your HbA1c levels and blood pressure levels are compared with the possible range values. The analysis will show you what is driving your personalized risk and what you should focus on to bring down your risk of developing sight threatening diabetic retinopathy if it is above average

 

 

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The History of Diabetes: An Interactive Timeline

July 16, 2020

 

Diabetes has been documented by scientists for thousands of years, under many different names, as we covered in our previous blog A Short History of Diabetes. Through the ages, many ground-breaking experts, doctors and other medical workers have contributed to enhancing the quality of life for people living with diabetes. Few have done as much as Dr. Frederick Banting, who along with his colleagues, discovered how to isolate and extract insulin to treat diabetes in humans. He is a true hero to millions.

 

The history of diabetes is compelling and there´s a lot to absorb along the way. The Interactive Timeline, created by the Diabetes Daily team, is a fun way to explore the path of diabetes, from the very early historical descriptions of the condition, to the discovery of insulin, to the multitude of treatment and technical advances over the last century.

 

The entertaining and informative timeline allows you to click on icons or links for a great variety of milestones to learn more, and to dig into an array of comprehensive articles on various diabetes-related topics. Don´t miss this chance to dip-into the fascinating saga of diabetes, one of mankind’s major medical challenges. To try out the Diabetes Daily Interactive Timeline click here.

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Celebrating Those Living with Diabetes for Half a Century

May 26, 2020

It’s sometimes forgotten that many people around the world live long and healthy lives with diabetes. There’s no doubt that living with diabetes, especially Type 1, is hard work. The first thought when they wake up is not about their first cup of tea or coffee but rather whether their blood glucose level is going to be where it should be. For many, every day and night is a constant reminder of a physically and emotionally demanding condition that requires constant monitoring. As Riva Greenberg explained in her blog: “Type 1 diabetes is a tightrope walk — all day and all night taking action to anticipate, prevent and recover from my blood sugar going too high and too low.”

 

In recent decades, diabetes care has improved dramatically resulting in people with diabetes now living significantly longer. Maintaining good blood glucose control is key to prolonging your life span. Keeping blood sugar levels within the recommended blood glucose level ranges will help to offset the likelihood of complications and therefore increase life expectancy. It’s highly recommended to enjoy a healthy lifestyle, including a well balanced diet and regular physical activity, in order to help keep blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels and promote good blood circulation.

 

 

The Joslin Diabetes Center, one of the world’s most renowned diabetes clinics, recognizes how hard people with diabetes have to work for good diabetes care. Since 1948, the Joslin Diabetes Center has awarded people medals for living with Type 1 diabetes for 50, 75, and even 80 years; the first 80-Year Lifetime Achievement Award was presented in May 2013. The 25-year medal has become a certificate as so many people are, as was once unheard of, living with diabetes beyond a quarter century.

 

The Medalist Program was the vision of the Joslin Diabetes Center’s founder, Dr. Elliott P. Joslin, MD, and serves as an incentive for those committed to good, although challenging, diabetes care. Since 1970, the Joslin team has presented more than 5,000 50-Year Medals and more than 90 distinctive 75-Year Medals from 1996 to today. The Medalist Program is far reaching; Joslin has awarded medals across the United States country and around the world, including to recipients in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, England, Finland, Hungary, Japan, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

 

The Joslin Medalist Program is open to everyone who has lived with insulin-dependent diabetes for over 25 years. You do not have to be a Joslin patient to participate in the program and there are no physical restrictions for these awards. In order to become a Joslin Medalist, you just need to fill out some documentation and send evidence of the date of your diagnosis along with the date you began insulin treatment. More information about the program can be found on the website of the Joslin Diabetes Center.

 

In 2003, the Joslin team initiated the Joslin 50-Year Medalist Study, which since has yielded some fascinating results. The researchers asked the Medalists to complete an extensive medical history questionnaire and provide laboratory data from their doctor. More than 300 people responded, and close to 50 percent seem to have escaped serious complications, which occur in almost all people after 30-years living period with Type 1 diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy. These are remarkable results.

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´Real-Life´ Use of RetinaRisk – A New Scientific Article

April 20, 2020

 

In a previous blog we discussed how “One Size Doesn´t Always Fit All” when it comes to screening for diabetic retinopathy, one of the leading causes of blindness in the global working age population. This is what our founders had in mind when they designed the RetinaRisk algorithm that calculates the individualized risk of people with diabetes of developing sight-threatening eye disease. They proposed a variable interval screening, based on each patient’s risk profile, instead of a fixed screening interval for all. This can ensure that the right person receives the right treatment at the right time – truly personalized medicine.

 

The RetinaRisk algorithm was developed following extensive international research on risk factors known to affect the progression of diabetic retinopathy, such as the type and duration of diabetes, gender, blood pressure and HbA1c levels, as well as a diagnosis of retinopathy. Clinical validation in over 20.000 diabetic patients in five countries has confirmed that the RetinaRisk algorithm can predict the risk of retinopathy progression with a very high precision (ROC curve with AUC over 0.8).

 

We are very pleased to now present a five-year real-life use of RetinaRisk. A recent article in Acta Ophthalmologica describes the use of the RetinaRisk algorithm in a diabetic eye-screening programme in Norway between 2014 and 2019, where screening intervals were individualized, and clinical outcomes, safety and cost-effectiveness documented. The diabetes cohort was divided on a voluntary basis into two groups: one with variable screening intervals based on their personal risk profile and the other group with conventional fixed interval diabetic eye screening.

 

The key findings of this ´real world´ study was that the RetinaRisk algorithm was safe and effective in an ophthalmology clinic´s diabetic screening program. It showed that the use of RetinaRisk reduces the mean frequency of screening visits and liberates valuable time in the ophthalmic practice. This time savings can be used on high-risk diabetic patients or other patient groups, since they otherwise would have been screened at fixed annual visits. RetinaRisk helps to summarize the clinical data for each patient and makes it easier to find the high-risk diabetic patients. These patients can then be screened at shorter intervals.

 

The Norwegian experience demonstrated that patients appreciate the focus on the relevant risk factors and the way that RetinaRisk can visualize the risk profile for each patient. The RetinaRisk app helps to increase the interest and motivate patients to improve their risk profile.

 

Overall, RetinaRisk was found to be a valuable tool for improving the quality and economics of diabetic retinopathy screening. We thank Dr. Estil for sharing his invaluable experience with using the RetinaRisk algorithm and look forward to our continued fruitful collaboration in eliminating preventable diabetic blindness.

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Weekly news from the product team

January 8, 2020 - Ægir Þór Steinarsson

 

In this weekly blog from the product team, I ́ll be sharing what we ́re working on to make the RetinaRisk app better, soliciting feedback from you, the reader and discussing other products and features that we are exploring.

 

Want to be a part of the product development process by giving us your feedback?

 

Feel free to send me an email to aegirthorst@retinarisk.com with any questions or comments you might have.

 

Back-end work

 

We are starting the year 2020 by working to make improvements to our backend operations and structure. This will enable us to respond to any challenges faster than before resulting in a development process that is more agile. This will also make all existing features better over time with enhancements being introduced throughout the year to make your experience even better.

 

Bug fixes

 

We will soon begin work on a number of smaller bug fixes across the RetinaRisk app. This includes items such as improving the launch time of the app, making the sliders more responsive and issues with manual login. We want the app experience to be as seamless as possible and are working hard to address any issues that might arise.

 

Data privacy

 

We take your data privacy very seriously and we want to be better at communicating to you the work we have done to make your data as secure as possible. We will be highlighting items such as our privacy policy and terms of services which will give you, the user, insight and transparency into how we address and organize these matters.

 

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Weekly news from the product team

December 20, 2019 - Ægir Þór Steinarsson

 

In this weekly blog from the product team, I ́ll be sharing what we ́re working on to make the RetinaRisk app better, soliciting feedback from you, the reader and discussing other products and features that we are exploring.

 

Want to be a part of the product development process by giving us your feedback?

 

Feel free to send me an email to aegirthorst@retinarisk.com with any questions or comments you might have.

 

Clinical validation

 

Did you know that the algorithm that drives the RetinaRisk app has been in development for over a decade and has been clinically validated in a diabetic population of over 20.000 in four different studies and countries with more studies being released? Probably not, and that’s why we want to make all that information available to you within the app so you can see all the work that has been put into making the RetinaRisk app as safe and precise as possible.

 

Enhanced analysis

 

We want you to get meaningful insights each time you use the RetinaRisk app. One of the best ways to do that is to help you understand your risk score and what it means for you personally. We will be expanding the analysis function so it gives you better, more personalized, insights into the results so you can make better decisions regarding your diabetes management and eye care. If you have Hypertension (high blood pressure), it is very likely to result in a higher than normal risk of developing sight threatening eye disease. Want to make users aware of this close relationship between risk and blood pressure and the help them understand the how the risk might look like if the user would lower blood pressure through lifestyle changes, medication or both

 

India

 

In the year 2020, we will be focusing much of our efforts on making an impact in India where almost 20% of the world diabetes population lives. With around 70 million people living with diabetes in India, it is important to make free services such as the RetinaRisk app available to all. We will focus on addressing the needs of the Indian population while further developing the app for other markets where the app will continue to be available for free.

 

Send us a message If you are based in India and want collaborate with us on this mission

 

Screening calendar

 

Your eye health is what matters most to us and it is something that guides us in our product development. One thing that we are exploring is to introduce a feature that handles the logistics of annual screenings. One of the most important things you can do to keep your eyes healthy is to have regular eye screenings and we want to help you to do that. We are currently exploring how this feature might look like and are looking at calendar reminders, referrals to ophthalmologists and of course reminders to use the RetinaRisk app regularly

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Weekly news from the product team

December 16, 2019 - Ægir Þór Steinarsson

 

In this weekly blog from the product team, I ́ll be sharing what we ́re working on to make the RetinaRisk app better, soliciting feedback from you, the reader and discussing other products and features that we are exploring.

 

Want to be a part of the product development process by giving us your feedback? Feel free to send me an email to aegirthorst@retinarisk.com with any questions or comments you might have.

 

Icelandic translation issues

 

We are aware that there is a translation error in the Icelandic translation in the app where “sign up” has been translated to “Skrá út”. We are working to fix this so users wanting to use the app in Icelandic are not experiencing confusion during the sign-up process.

 

Subscription issues

 

We are also aware of an issue during the subscription process where Android users are presented with a yearly subscription option when selecting monthly. We will be addressing this issue in a release very soon

 

Spanish

 

We will be adding the spanish language in the weeks to come, which is something we look forward to. We want the transnational languages of the world to be available in the app and are working to build out our language capabilities. We hope to be adding French as well in the first quarter of 2019 with other languages following.

 

Chats extras

 

One of our biggest goals for the RetinaRisk app is to build an empowered community of users who are not only able to perform advanced risk calculations but who can access extensive knowledge and connect with their peers. One of the features we will be looking at in the new year is the chat function and how we can make it easier for people to connect with one another. We will be looking at how we can match up people who are experiencing similar issues, looking for similar knowledge or would benefit from making a connection in any way. It is our hope that the chat will connect users from all corners of the world, making RetinaRisk the best way of forming connections and seeking empowerment.

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Weekly news from the product team

December 6, 2019 - Ægir Þór Steinarsson

 

In this weekly blog from the product team, I ́ll be sharing what we ́re working on to make the RetinaRisk app better, soliciting feedback from you, the reader and discussing other products that we are exploring. Feel free to send me an email to aegirthorst@retinarisk.com with any questions or comments you might have.

 

Login issues

 

We are aware that some users are experiencing issues with manual login and we are working to fix this. We have noticed that users are not being notified about the required password strength when resetting their password and are therefore able to choose passwords that do not fulfill RetinaRisk’s password strength requirements. This is a mistake and we will be adding instructions during the process to make it clearer and more straight forward. The requirements for a password are: Minimum 8 characters and at least one upper-case, one lower-case and one number.

 

Google login works without issues.

 

Easier to select languages

 

We have also noticed that some users are having difficulties finding where to access the language options and are working to make it easier for users to select the different languages available. We want you, the user, to have the best user experience possible and accessing the app in your own language is an important step in that direction. We want the language options to be easy to find and intuitive and are working to improve this feature

 

Looking ahead

 

Some of the things we will be exploring in the new year is to greatly enhance the educational section. We are exploring how we can make the content there easier to digest, divide into smaller pieces and how to make it tailored to each and every user. We are looking into adding short videos that can be accessed in the app where our founders and other health care professionals will give users insights into some of the relevant topics.

We also acknowledge that we have limited time in today’s society and want to access knowledge in an efficient manner. To respond to that, we are looking into tailoring the material to you, the user,so that you can access new and interesting learning material when using the app.

 

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THE 2019 WORLD DIABETES ATLAS IS OUT!

November 28, 2019 - Silla Jónsdóttir

 

 

The International Diabetes Federation published the 9th edition of the World Diabetes Atlas on  November 14, in celebration of World Diabetes Day. The World Diabetes Atlas provides a comprehensive overview of statistics regarding diabetes, including prevalence of diabetes today but also estimates into the future.

The Atlas outlines the individual, social and economic impact of diabetes globally and by region and looks at diabetes prevalence from a demographic and geographic point of view.

 

I must admit that I have been waiting for the 9th edition to come out for few months already. I really look forward to digging into the statistics and will be sharing some of the findings in future blog posts.

 

The World Diabetes Atlas was first published in 2000. Since then, the prevalence of diabetes (combining type 1 and type 2) has risen from 151 million and 463 million persons living with diabetes today. These are staggering numbers. This means that 9.3% of the global population has diabetes.  If we don’t manage to reverse this trend, the numbers are expected to reach 578 million in 2030. By 2045, there could be 700 million people living with diabetes. We must do whatever we can to prevent this prediction coming true.

 

It seems that most countries around the world are falling short of the target set by the World Health Organization (WHO) to halt the rise of type 2 diabetes by 2025. In many countries a national diabetes plan is still missing and at least half the world’s population lives without coverage for essential healthcare. A concerted effort by the international community and national campaigns is required to further prevent type 2 diabetes and to improve management of all types of diabetes.

This is of paramount importance as with early diagnosis and access to appropriate care, diabetes can be managed and its complications in most cases prevented.

 

The World Diabetes Atlas serves to outline the latest figures and projections as regards diabetes worldwide. It includes comprehensive information about what is diabetes, statistics for the different types of diabetes and prevalence of diabetes by regions. It highlights the nature of various complications associated with diabetes, such as diabetic eye and kidney disease, their prevalence and economic impact. Here is an example of the information provided in the World Diabetes Atlas:

 

  • Approximately 463 million adults (20-79 years) were living with diabetes in 2019; by 2045 this will rise to 700 million
  • The proportion of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing in most countries
  • 79% of adults with diabetes were living in low- and middle-income countries
  • 1 in 2 (232 million) people with diabetes were undiagnosed
  • Diabetes caused 4.2 million deaths
  • Diabetes caused at least USD 760 billion dollars in health expenditure in 2019 – 10% of total spending on adults
  • More than 1.1 million children and adolescents are living with type 1 diabetes
  • 374 million people are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes

 

The World Diabetes Atlas provides a solid baseline for policy makers and others involved in diabetes management. Only by acknowledging and understanding the facts and the numbers regarding diabetes worldwide, will we be able to make a significant dent in preventing and improving the lives of those living with diabetes in the world.

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