An estimated 60 million people in India have diabetes, and a six million of them suffer from sight-threatening retinopathy which is a fall-out of the disease, Public Health Foundation of India said in a report.
It is estimated that number of diabetes patients in India would rise to 80 million by 2030, highest in the world, it said.
Worldwide, diabetes affects 170 million people; the number is expected to rise to 366 million by 2030. About 1.85 million people have suffered blindness due to diabetic retinopathy (DR), according to the report, released here yesterday.
One out of five people with diabetes suffers from DR.
Dr GVS Murthy, Director of Indian Institute of Public Health (Hyderabad), a constituency unit of the PHFI, said that evidence shows that early detection and management are key to control the sight loss due to DR.
Speaking to reporters at a two-day workshop here, Murthy said not much attention is given to impact of diabetes on the patient’s vision. Less than a third of diabetes physicians have a simple vision-checking chart in their clinics, the study found out.
The study revealed that people have very little awareness about diabetes and importance of regular eye-tests, he said.
In fact, half of the respondents didn’t know they had diabetes until they visited an eye clinic for vision issues.
Over half the patients visiting ophthalmologists are found to have been suffering from diabetes for over 10 years, with 15 per cent living with the condition for over 20 years and, therefore, putting themselves at a high risk of sight loss.