A Hyderabad-based hospital is offering a boon to diabetics to help them to take care of their eye health, with free screening for diabetic retinopathy being offered.
The initiative will roll out at the MaxiVision Super Specialty Eye Hospital commencing today, which marks World Diabetes Day. The screening programme will run until November 30th, operating in MaxiVision branches in Hyderabad, Vijayawada, and Vizag.
Diabetes is a disease of epidemic proportions in India, affecting 11.8 percent of Indians with the number of type-2 diabetics in the country expected to number 98.0 million by 2030 compared to 72.4 million in 2017. Diabetes overall could affect as many as 134 million Indians by 2045.
Eye conditions are a major source of concern for the nation’s diabetics, of whom one in seven are affected by some form of visual impairment. Diabetic eye diseases include diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes caused by damage to the blood vessels within the tissue of the retina, resulting from failure to control blood sugar levels as well as other factors such as smoking, pregnancy, and hypertension. Left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can result in blindness.
For India’s tens of millions of diabetics, diabetic retinopathy is a serious risk – especially in view of the fact that as many as 60.5 percent of Indian diabetics do not properly control their blood sugar. Diabetic retinopathy currently affects 16.7 percent of India’s diabetics. With rising rates of the condition, vigilance is needed. Concerningly, however, eye conditions linked to diabetes are often neglected.
“Unfortunately, diabetes eye disease is given least importance by the patients and even physicians,” endocrinologist Dr Anoop Misra said earlier this year. “[The] retina of eye should be checked once a year in every patient with diabetes to detect early damage and avoid sight threatening retinopathy and dangerous macula swelling as seen in about ten percent of patients in the current study.” As such, initiatives such as the MaxiVision Super Specialty Eye Hospital’s screening programme for diabetic retinopathy is welcome news. To protect the eye health of Indian diabetics, more programmes of its kind are needed.