Prevention and screening for diabetic retinopathy (DR)

Eye health picEvery 6 seconds someone in the world is diagnosed with diabetes. In 2017, an estimated 425 million adults worldwide were living with diabetes. If the current trend continues, it is estimated that this number will increase to 629 million by 2045. This is equivalent to 1 in 10 adults.

As the incidence of diabetes increases worldwide, so does that of its complications, including those affecting the eye. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) can result in impaired vision or blindness. DR affects an estimated one in three people living with diabetes and is a leading cause of avoidable vision loss and blindness in the working-age population.

By 2030, about 191 million people living with diabetes are estimated to develop diabetic retinopathy. Current estimates show 56.3 million people deteriorating to vision-threatening DR if immediate and appropriate steps are not taken.

Regular eye screening is essential for all people with diabetes and should therefore be an integral component of routine diabetes care provided by primary healthcare providers. However, geography and limited resources make eye screening difficult in many countries.

To facilite the provision of eye screening in low-income and/or remote settings, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has purchased a first consignment of 100 fundoscopic cameras for distribution to 56 sites identified by IDF Members. The aim is to provide diabetes centres and their personnel with the essential medical equipment to screen people living with diabetes for DR to help manage and prevent this common and costly complication.

The project also intends to improve data collection and increase the available data on diabetic eye disease worldwide.

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