Diabetic Retinopathy TreatmentEn Français
With funding from the World Diabetes Foundation and Standard Chartered Bank, HKI successfully developed two pilot programs in Bangladesh and Indonesia to test innovative approaches to address this unmet need. The key components of the programs include:
- Training of diabetes clinicians to recognize the eye health consequences and counsel their patients to obtain annual eye examinations
- Raising awareness among diabetics about the significant risk of vision loss
- Development of affordable and efficient systems for the identification and treatment of individuals with DR
Working with our local partners, HKI has succeeded in making DR screening a basic component of the screening regimen for all diabetes patients served by these facilities. This process includes photographing the retina, grading the images, determining the presence and severity of disease, and offering appropriate treatment.
HKI continues to innovate its programs through research and is currently testing two new low cost cameras that could help to significantly reduce the cost of services and expand access to more remote communities. HKI has also been the recipient of a Sightsavers Innovation Research Award for our Bangladesh program.
In April 2013 HKI is co-hosting with the Fred Hollows Foundation a meeting of senior eye health NGO staff to analyze this emerging need and to examine opportunities for collaboration.
- According to the International Diabetes Federation approximately 366 million people currently have diabetes and by 2030 this will increase to 552 million.
- 80% of people with diabetes live in low and middle income countries.
- The age of onset for Type 2 diabetes continues to fall worldwide, and is increasingly found in people in their late teens and early twenties.
- Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is a leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide and is a frequent cause of new cases of blindness among adults ages 20-74.
- Diabetic Retinopathy occurs in almost 75% of patients with adult onset diabetes within the first fifteen years of diagnosis of their disease. Approximately 2% of these people will go completely blind and 10% will develop severe visual impairment during this time.
- Early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy is critical because the risk of developing eye problems increases with the amount of time an individual has diabetes.
- There are currently over 3.2 million people with diabetes in Bangladesh; this number is expected to increase to more than 11 million by 2030. In Indonesia, there are an estimated 8.4 million diabetics, with the number projected to reach 21.3 million by 2030.
- Current health care systems in these countries are ill-equipped to provide the necessary screening and treatment required to prevent the avoidable vision loss associated with advanced Diabetic Retinopathy.
What HKI Is Doing
- Helen Keller International and our partners are initiating a program to improve access to, and long-term compliance with, Diabetic Retinopathy treatment and care among the urban poor by establishing a collaborative network to identify and refer Diabetic Retinopathy cases, provide high quality treatment, and keep patients in the healthcare system once identified.
- Through this program, HKI and our partners will educate health care professionals about the need to refer patients for vision examinations, provide them with equipment and training and institute a model “case management” system to improve long-term care.