Pune: In a recently conducted survey in Pune city, 'Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness and Diabetic Retinopathy', it was found that every fifth person over the age of 50 years is diabetic.
The total sample size for this survey was 3,600. Over 22 per cent had diabetes and nearly 13 per cent i.e. more than one in 10 of them had diabetic retinopathy which may cause permanent blindness. This survey was conducted by HV Desai Eye Hospital to find out estimates of blindness in the city and its causes.
Dr Sucheta Kulkarni, Medical Director of HV Desai Hospital and the lead investigator of this survey, said that they conducted examinations to find out how many are diabetic and how many have diabetic retinopathy which is the eye complication of diabetes.
According to eye specialists, diabetic retinopathy can cause permanent blindness. However, if detected and treated in time, this blindness can be completely prevented.
Moreover, lack of awareness about this problem is the main reason why diabetes patients are at risk of losing eyesight. India is among the top two countries having highest number of diabetic population in the world. Urgent intervention to tackle this epidemic of diabetes is required if we are to control people getting complications of diabetes.
Dr M Deshpande, Chief Medical Director at HV Desai Hospital said that although, prevalence of blindness is on the decline, cataract still remains the main cause of blindness.
“We found that almost 47 per cent of blindness was due to cataract. Despite availability of cataract services in government, NGO and private sector, high cost of surgery still remains the main reason why people do not get operated,” he said.
Eye Complications of Diabetes
- Other striking findings of the survey included that over 22 per cent had diabetes and nearly 13 per cent i.e. more than one in 10 people had diabetic retinopathy.
- Over two thirds i.e. close to 70 per cent of them had never got their eyes checked for diabetic retinopathy.
- Officials at HV Desai Hospital said that the findings of this survey will be used for planning and improving services for cataract as well as diabetic retinopathy in the city.
- This survey was conducted with the technical support of The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.