World Diabetes Day – 14 November 2021

Article category: Events .
November 30, 2021

Guest Editorial – by Karen Denton

The theme for World Diabetes Day (WDD) 2021 is “Access to Diabetes Care”. The year 2021 is significant for the diabetes world, as it is the centenary of the discovery of insulin by Banting and Best in a small laboratory in Toronto.

It is notable that a hundred years after this life saving discovery, there are millions around the world who do not receive adequate care.

As many as 20% of people who are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes for the first time already have eye damage that they are usually unaware of.

Karen Denton – Head of Advocacy and Education

This is of such significance that in 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to recognise November 14th as World Diabetes Day (WDD) to highlight ‘the urgent need to pursue multilateral efforts to promote and improve human health and provide access to treatment and health-care education.’

People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes need ongoing care, support, and education to live a fulfilling, meaningful life and to delay or prevent the complications that impact the individual, the family, and society.

One of the questions that we are frequently asked at Retina SA is ‘which is more dangerous, Type 1 or Type 2?  The answer surprises many – because it doesn’t depend on the type of Diabetes. People who are given the tools to care for themselves, know what to do and how to do it, can live a long, healthy life. However, Diabetes is dangerous and can precipitate short- and long-term problems when there is insufficient care. Sadly, as stated above, many people do not have access to adequate care, and face complications such as heart attacks, strokes, amputations, kidney failure and blindness.

The International Council of Ophthalmology states that “ … one-third of people with diabetes have some form of diabetic eye disease that can lead to vision impairment and blindness. With effective diabetes management and early detection through regular eye exams and timely treatment, almost all vision impairment and blindness from diabetic eye disease can be prevented

If you already have a retinal condition you need to ensure that you protect yourself against the further loss of vision that Diabetes causes. Prevention strategies include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy food choices
  • No smoking
  • Control BMI, BP, and Cholesterol
  • Get regular eye checks
Counselling Staff - Left to Right: Claudette Medefindt, Lindiwe Maredi, Victoria Musimbo, Karen Denton

Some of our counselling staff available to give you specific advice on the prevention of Diabetes Type 2 – Left to Right: Claudette Medefindt, Lindiwe Maredi, Victoria Musimbo, Karen Denton

For further information, referrals, access to counselling, education and advocacy, please email


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