The COVID-19 pandemic has been a powerful indicator of how a diminished physical, emotional, and social lifestyle can place a heavy weight on health and wellness. Now, we must encourage all Americans who are blind and visually impaired to get up and get moving.
Over 4 million Americans experience severe vision loss and blindness, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), puts a $51.4 billion burden on our annual economy. The negative impact felt by the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the surface many challenges to inclusion and opportunity for many individuals experiencing blindness.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not create the health inequities faced by people with disabilities on a daily basis. However, the pandemic continues to shine a spotlight on the persistent challenges for the more than 30 million Americans living with severe vision loss to accessing health and wellness services and technologies.
According to the CDC, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness for working-aged adults in the United States. Currently, of the 34 million Americans with diabetes, nearly one-third will experience diabetes-related vision loss. Despite this causal link between diabetes and vision loss, there are few resources and technologies available to allow someone with vision loss to independently test, manage, and care for their diabetes. The inaccessibility of durable medical equipment, home diagnostic equipment, remote monitoring devices, and even fitness and exercise equipment exacerbate the underlying causes of vision loss and increases the likelihood of comorbid health conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension.
For these reasons, the American Council of the Blind launched the Get Up and Get Moving campaign.
This campaign is an effort to empower our members and the over 30 million Americans with severe vision loss to take control of our health. We will educate our community on the tools and resources available and shine a spotlight on the health inequities that persist. As part of this campaign, we intend to hold in-person events to increase public awareness surrounding the barriers to health and wellness faced by our community. Join ACB in Celebrating the importance of health and wellness for independence on October 15, International White Cane Day.
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) invites all individuals, organizations, and corporations to join our Get Up and Get Moving campaign as a Health-Hero for everyone living with vision loss.