Diabetic retinopathy, if left unaddressed, may become the leading cause of preventable blindness and visual impairment in India. An estimated 11.9 million people globally may have preventable moderate or severe vision impairment or blindness due to diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and trachoma.
As we mark ‘Diabetic Eye Disease Month’ this November, participants at an India Vision Institute (IVI)-VisionPlus Magazine hosted ‘Addressing Diabetic Retinopathy’ webinar, November 25, engaged in an illuminating exchange of ideas and experiences on this emerging challenge.
Moderated by IVI’s CEO, Vinod Daniel, the panel at the discussion comprised Prof GVS Murthy, Director, Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad & Professor, Public Health Eye Care and Disability, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Dr Padmaja Kumari Rani, Network Head, Tele-Ophthalmology & Consultant, Smt. Kanuri Santamma Retina Vitreous Service, LV Prasad Eye Institute, and Md Alamgir, Optometrist and Founder, Khushi Eye Care.
Mr Daniel remarked at the outset that diabetes has become a significant health care problem in India and the world. Lifestyle changes related to food habits and a decrease in physical activity, among other factors, have served only to accelerate the rise in diabetes cases the world over. One of the conditions associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, in which high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels in the retina, the nerve layer lining the innermost part of the back of the eye. Vision impairment occurs as a result of swelling in the central part of the retina. Abnormal blood vessels can also grow from the retina, which can result in blindness by causing bleeding or scarring of the retina. The fact that people with diabetes can lose their vision if left unchecked isn’t well known enough, but it is a dangerous possibility.