‘Chirag’, a Public Health Awareness initiative of Grewal Eye Institute, Chandigarh conducted a programme to provide the public with an overview of diabetes affecting the vision that leads to partial or total blindness. Great emphasis was laid on the significance of regular and detailed fundus examination.
The session was led by a panel of eminent ophthalmologists Dr Jagat Ram, former Director PGI, Dr M R Dogra, former head of the Eye Department and Dr SPS Grewal, emphasised that fundus examination should be done when a person is diagnosed with diabetes for the first time.
Dr Grewal highlighted how awareness about a disease can change a patient’s life. After having diabetes for 25 years, practically everyone is likely to have diabetic retinopathy. He pointed out that diabetes is increasing dramatically in India due to a longer life span, change in lifestyle, and sedentary work. Two types of diabetes are encountered – Type 1 diabetes (juvenile) is uncommon, starts before 30 years of age, and requires insulin for treatment and survival.
Type 2 diabetes (adult onset) is common, starts after 30 years of age, and is managed with lifestyle changes and/or oral drugs/ insulin. Nearly 95% of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes and most affected are between 35 and 64 years.
Type 1 diabetes is rare, but its prevalence is also rising. Diabetic retinopathy, especially Type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the USA and the same is happening in India.
There are an estimated 463 million adults worldwide with diabetes, expected to grow to 578 million by 2030. India has nearly 77 million Indians affected by diabetes as per the latest reports and expected to increase to 134 million by 2045.
Diabetic retinopathy affects an estimated one-third of all people with diabetes. One-fifth with diabetes would develop Vision-Threatening Diabetic Retinopathy (VTDR).
There are approximately 3 – 4.5 million patients with VTDR in India.
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