Diabetic Retinopathy – awareness, the need of the hour

Diabetic Retinopathy

From being the 17th cause of blindness 20 years ago, diabetic retinopathy, in India, has ascended to the 6th position today. Recent advancements in medicine have no doubt helped in diagnosing and treating the condition, but ophthalmologists believe there is much to be done.

Dr. Arup Das, Chief and Professor of Ophthalmology, Cell Biology and Physiology, University of New Mexico, School of Medicine, Albuquerque, US, says, “an integrated approach, including undertaking genetic and epidemiological studies and reaching out to the masses through telemedicine will go a long way in addressing Diabetic Retinopathy.” Dr. Das was speaking at the inauguration of the Sankara Nethralaya-ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) conference held in Chennai on September 9, 2010.

The three-day conference titled “Diabetic Retinopathy: from bench to population” brought together a host of retinal specialists, diabetologists, epidemiologists and general ophthalmologists, from India and abroad, to discuss the progress made in the epidemiological, genetics and management of diabetic retinopathy, the screening strategies and treatment of the disease and the recent research advancements made in the field.
Chief Guest Dr. Mayil Vahanan Natarajan, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu, Dr. MGR Medical University, lauded “Dr. Badrinath’s broad vision, which has made Sankara Nethralaya what it is today,” and emphasized on the need for doctors to undertake research.

Extensive sessions on the subject were held at the conference, which included key note addresses, poster sessions and free paper sessions.

Calling for greater awareness among the public, Dr. Rajiv Raman, Senior Consultant, Sankara Nethralaya, said that one-third of diabetics don’t know about it and people who get diabetes early in life have a greater chance of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Management Guru Swami Sukhobodhanandaji delivered a distinguished lecture on “Who I am” on the occasion.

Speaking on the Sankara Nethralaya Diabetic Retinopathy programme and the various initiatives undertaken through it, Dr. Tarun Sharma, Director Vitreo Retinal Services, Sankara Nethralaya, called for a collective societal effort in tackling diabetic retinopathy, the long-term complications of which can be prevented.

Earlier on, Vision Research Foundation President Dr. HN Madhavan briefed the dignitaries and delegates on the research facilities at the institution and the numerous accomplishments achieved so far.

ARVO, a world-renowned body for ophthalmic research, conducts its annual conference at Fort Lauderdale, USA. This is the first time the International Ophthalmic ARVO co-sponsor conference on a theme topic is being held in India.

Meet on diabetic retinopathy in city
Indian Express, Sept 10, 2010

Diabetic retinopathy 6th cause of blindness in India
Times of India, September 11, 2010

Sankara Nethralaya Diabetic Retinopathy Program (SNDRP)
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