Following the success of their first eye screening campaign in 2021, the Bulgarian Diabetes Association (BDA), in collaboration with Bayer Bulgaria, conducted a second campaign between May and July 2022. The aim was to provide people living with diabetes (PwD) in remote areas of the country with the opportunity to get screened for eye disease that can lead to vision impairment and blindness. For PwD, eye health is particularly important as diabetes-related retinopathy is a diabetes complication that affects more than one third of all PwD, but its early diagnosis and timely treatment can prevent vision impairment and blindness.
During the campaign, a medical team of ophthalmologists, equipped with a mobile unit, moved across 31 towns throughout the country and examined 1,754 people. As a result of the screenings, the medical team found eye problems in 1,188 people, of whom 778 complained about their vision. Following the consultations, 1,047 people were referred for additional test, and 862 were referred for treatment.
The campaign’s relevance was broadly amplified by a number of media, with smaller local media outlets playing a key role in raising awareness of the importance of the prevention of diabetes-related complications. The MD magazine, which covers scientific developments in medicine and clinical practice in Bulgarian, also recently published an article about the campaign written by the BDA President, Maya Victorova.
The results of the BDA campaigns reiterate the importance of screening for diabetes-related complications so that early diagnosis and timely treatment can prevent the development of irreversible complications that can negatively affect the quality of life of PwD. It is crucial to ensure that guidelines regarding essential screening and complications care are implemented without differences in access across and within countries, so that PwD can achieve optimal health outcomes irrespective of the area of the country in which they live.