The Maharashtra Ophthalmological Society will screen 25,000 eyes across the state on the occasion of World Diabetes Day on November 14. Diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in elderly people, but a simple retina test can detect diabetic retinopathy in time and timely treatment can save patients from blindness.
The Maharashtra Ophthalmological Society represents more than 2,500 eye doctors practising in the state. All members of society will be conducting free screening for diabetic eye diseases in every district of the state throughout the month.
The initiative has been supported by All India Ophthalmological Society with all district representative societies in the state.
The Maharashtra Ophthalmological Society and the All India Ophthalmological Society have declared November as the ‘Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month’.
All district ophthalmology societies will implement the project at the grassroot level, sources said. This will be the first such mega screening of diabetic eye disease in India, said Dr Vardhaman Kankariya, secretary of Maharashtra Ophthalmological Society. This project will help in detecting patients who otherwise would go blind due to lack of awareness. The data will be compiled and analysed to know the burden of the disease and will help in planning government sponsored NPCB programs, he added.
According to Dr Nitin Prabhudessai, ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal surgeon, Prabhudessai Eye Clinic, Pune, said, “Diabetic macular edema (DME) is chronic but manageable. It is the common cause of vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy with an increasing prevalence tied to the global epidemic in type 2 diabetes mellitus. There are 400 practising ophthalmologists in Pune, but patients still land up at doctors’ clinic for consultation only at an advanced stage, indicating the missing link between patient awareness and disease treatment options available. Even in developed countries, lack awareness of DME is common.”
‘Need for specialised cardiovascular disease centres’
According to Dr Shirish Hiremath, director, Cath Lab, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune, “With increasing incidence of heart diseases among the younger population in India, there is a need to establish specialised cardiovascular disease centres to evaluate underlying causes, modify their treatment accordingly and help in rehabilitating them. While adhering to the medication prescribed by the doctor is important to improve patient condition, heart failure patients require constant monitoring to evaluate the benefits of treatment. This can only be made possible through dedicated heart failure clinics, well-trained nursing staff and primary healthcare providers.”