New Delhi November 14, 2022: AIOS (All India Ophthalmological Society) and VRSI (Vitreo-Retina Society of India) commemorated World Diabetes Day on 13th November 2022 by organizing a walk to raise awareness about the dangers of Diabetic Retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy, often caused by elevated blood sugar levels, can damage the retina of the eye. It can also lead to sight loss if left undiagnosed and untreated. According to experts, one out of every three diabetes patients will have some form of retinopathy. It is the leading cause of blindness among diabetes patients. Furthermore, over 30 lakh diabetes patients in India over the age of 40 are at risk of losing their sight, according to a recent study by Lancet.
AIOS and VRSI organized a walking marathon at India Habitat Centre on November 13, 2022, to spread awareness of diabetic eye disease. The marathon was flagged off by Chief Guest Shri Deependra Pathak, Special Commissioner, Law & Order, in the presence of Prof. Rajvardhan Azad (Hony. General Secretary SAO, & Chairman, LOC, SAO), Dr. Lalit Verma, (Chief Organising Secretary, LOC SAO), Dr. N.S Muralidhar (President, VRSI), Dr. Namrata Sharma (Convenor Scientific Committee, LOC SAO), and Dr. Manisha Agarwal, Secretary, VRSI.
Additionally, several eye specialists from SAARC countries attending the SAO (South Asian Academy of Ophthalmology) meeting, along with members of AIOS and VRSI participated in the event.
“All diabetic patients should control their weight , metabolic status (blood sugar, BP, Serum lipids, hemoglobin) & have a regular follow up with eye surgeon regarding status of retina & need for Injections / Laser / Surgery.” Dr Lalit Verma, President, All India Ophthalmological Society.
Speaking about this initiative, Dr. Manisha Agarwal, Hon Secretary, VRSI, said, “There is an emerging epidemic of Diabetic Retinopathy in India and nearly 45% of patients attending eye clinics are already blind due to lack of awareness. India is slated to become the Diabetic Capital of the world in the next few years due to an alarming increase in the incidence of Diabetes. Therefore on behalf of VRSI, we request all Diabetes patients to have their eyes checked annually to prevent blindness resulting from Diabetic Retinopathy.”
Dr N.S. Muralidhar, President, VRSI said, “Diabetes is not just derangement of the sugar metabolism of the body, but a more complex disease affecting many organs of the body. The Heart, Kidney, Eyes and brain bear the brunt of the attack. There is very poor awareness about the fact that Diabetes is a major cause of blindness. Timely treatment can prevent blindness due to diabetic retinopathy. This is only possible if we pick up the changes in the eye, especially the retina (called Diabetic Retinopathy) at an early stage. Until the late stage of retinopathy, patients enjoy good vision, they don’t come for an eye checkup.
Hence the message from VRSI to all the public is simple- All diabetes patients should get their eyes checked for retina damage at the time the diabetes is detected, and regularly every year thereafter, even when they enjoy good vision. This will ensure that we detect and treat diabetic retinopathy before it damages the vision.”
It is noteworthy that both AIOS and VRSI have been working tirelessly to drive awareness of diabetic retinopathy in India. “Check your eyes every year to ensure you see better”, was their motto this World Diabetes Day.