Comm Eye Health South Asia Vol. 31 No. 102 2018. Published online 10 January, 2017

The diabetes epidemic and its implications for eye health

An eye care worker screens a patient in Colombo. SRI LANKA

Diabetes is a complex disease requiring the involvement of many health professionals, and patients have many different appointments to keep and tests to undergo.

With so much going on in the life of a diabetes patient and in busy clinics, raising awareness of diabetic retinopathy (DR) can be difficult. It requires that everyone involved in a patient’s care understands DR and knows what to do – most importantly the fact that everyone with diabetes must undergo yearly eye examinations to detect changes in the retina. Early detection is crucial, as DR is symptomless in the early stages; once vision is affected it is usually too late. Without treatment, given at the right time, people with DR will go blind.

Another important message of this issue is that patients can also help to reduce their risk of developing DR by looking after their own health and their diabetes – and as eye care practitioners we have a responsibility to lead by example and to talk to them about how to make healthy changes in their own lifestyle.

Finally, we have several clinical and technical articles to update and inform your diagnosis and management of DR patients. We hope you will enjoy this issue!