The Eyebetes Foundation, under the capable leadership of Dr Nishant Kumar, has been working tirelessly to raise awareness about the link between diabetes and blindness, and this year they are conducting one of the largest screening camps in the world at the Siddhivinayak Temple at Prabhadevi during the 11-day Ganpati Utsav.
It is estimated that in the next few decades we will have more than 100 million diabetics in India. One out of every five diabetics is an Indian. In fact, India is all set to overtake China as the ‘Diabetes Capital of the World’.
Despite the rising number of patients with diabetes, there is a dearth of nationwide, comprehensive prevalent data on these diseases. Almost half of these patients remain undiagnosed, in the absence of an effective nationwide screening programme (Indian Council of Medical Research-IndiaB study of over 50,000 patients in Chandigarh pegs this number at 47 per cent).
Experts believe that the prevalence of pre-diabetes is 10.3 per cent among adults, which means that the number of people with diabetes in India may double in the next decade from the current 70 million.
Moreover, even those who have diabetes are not aware of its consequences. Most diabetics do not know that prolonged diabetes can cause blindness, kidney disease and also diseases of the nervous system. In fact, most diabetics do not know how important an annual eye check-up is, for their wellbeing, especially since blindness due to diabetes is largely preventable. Unlike most developed nations, India does not have a robust programme for screening for diabetic retinopathy, and other diabetic eye diseases.
The Eyebetes Foundation, under the capable leadership of Dr Nishant Kumar, recognises this lacuna, and has been working tirelessly to raise awareness about the link between diabetes and blindness. The Eyebetes initiative aims to increase awareness about the disease and its management, and simultaneously screen for the disease. The Eyebetes Foundation has conducted large diabetes and blindness awareness and screening programmes In Mumbai, and this year they are conducting one of the largest screening camps in the world at the Siddhivinayak Temple at Prabhadevi during this 11-day Ganpati Utsav.
Eyebetes Foundation had screened as many as 16,242 participants at a similar event at the Siddhi Vinayak temple in 2017. Of these 3.79 per cent were known diabetics. What is startling is that an incredible 10.47 per cent had blood sugars above 150, which is the threshold for disease.
In other words, for every three people who know that they have diabetes, there are seven (more than twice) who are yet to be diagnosed! This is much more than the ICMR estimate from North India, that implied that for each known patient of diabetes, there is one undetected.
The importance of screening for chronic diseases, which are largely asymptomatic, like diabetes cannot be overemphasized. In addition, it is important to increase awareness about the disease and its complications, especially blindness. The Eyebetes Awareness and Screening camps are a much-needed effort in his direction.
Article Source: Afternoon Despatch & Courier | September 21, 2018