National Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy Survey, 2019

On October 10, 2019, at the Conference of Central Council of Health and Family Welfare, Union Minister Harsha Vardhan released National Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy survey, 2019. The survey was conducted between 2015 and 2019. Diabetes and Diabetic retinopathy have been emerging as significant non – communicable diseases that lead to ocular morbidity.

The survey was conducted by Rajendra Prasad Center for Ophthalmic sciences and AIIMS, New Delhi

Key findings of the survey – Diabetes

  • One in 46 diabetic patients in India become visually impaired due to diabetes. And one in 7 diabetic patients have vision impairment
  • The prevalence of Diabetes has remined at 11.8% in the last four years. Prevalence of known diabetes cases were 8% and new cases were 3.8%
  • Males showed prevalence of 12% and females 11.7%
  • The highest prevalence was observed in the age group of 70 – 79 years
  • Around 5.3% of the patients were diagnosed in past one year. While, 5.3% of cases were known diabetic cases

Key findings of the survey – Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)

  • DR was prevalent in diabetic population aged up to 50 years. Around 16.9% of the population suffered from DR
  • Among males DR was prevalent among 17% of males and 16.7% of females
  • DR among different age groups were observed as follows
    • 60 – 69 years – 18.6%
    • 70 – 79 years – 18.3%
    • Above 80 years – 18.4%
  • Prevalence of blindness among diabetic patients was 2.1% and visual impairment was 13.7%

The report says that lack of data on DR is a major concern in India. This is the first survey to include DR along with diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

It is a diabetic eye disease. It affects 80% of those who have diabetes. DR is a condition in which damage occurs in retina due to diabetes mellitus. The longer a person suffers from diabetes higher are his chances to develop DR.

WHO on Diabetes

The WHO estimated that in 2014 around 8.4% were diabetic globally. In India around 72.96 million diabetes cases were identified. It was between 10% and 14% in urban areas and between 3% and 7% in rural areas.

Reasons

  • Poor Awareness is the major cause of diabetes in India. Around 60% of Indians have poor control over their sugar level according to the survey
  • Majority of the diabetic patients never sought an eye check up
  • 90% of diabetic patients never gone for fundamental evaluation for diabetic retinopathy
  • The main reason for diabetes leading to vision impairment or blindness is mainly due to poor blood sugar control. Around 85.7% of surveyed patients were on oral tablets while only 39.5% had controlled blood glucose level.

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