Give the gift of sight on World Diabetes Day

Today is World Diabetes Day. India is set to emerge as the diabetic capital of the world – by 2030 it is estimated there will be 79.4 million diabetics in India, the largest number in any nation. Diabetic retinopathy is a blinding complication of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. However, blindness due to diabetic retinopathy can be prevented by regular screening and timely intervention.

CMC’s department of Ophthalmology is dedicated to the screening, prevention and treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Their outreach team travels to rural areas surrounding Vellore, screening all diabetics presenting for eye care either using a fundus camera and tele-screening or by fundus examination.

An optometrist examines a patient using a fundus camera

However, the numbers they are able to screen by this method are low and confined to those presenting themselves. Moreover, patients requiring treatment need to travel to CMC’s hospital in Vellore, sometimes for several visits which means those on minimal wages who cannot afford the time off work or the cost of travel, do not receive treatment.

Friends of Vellore UK are raising funds to help CMC buy a mobile ophthalmic unit. This unit will address both issues of poor access and follow up. It will make screening accessible to much larger numbers and enable laser treatment on the spot for those requiring it. Apart from diabetic retinopathy screening and treatment the mobile unit will be used for screening for all eye disease in children and adults in areas with poor access. You can donate to this project here.

CMC’s ophthalmology team view a mobile eye unit