Screening and Public Health Strategies for Diabetic Retinopathy in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

Abstract

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a complication of diabetes mellitus that can cause blindness. As the prevalence of diabetes increases globally and patients live longer, the cases of DR are increasing. To address the visual disabilities due to DR, screening of all diabetics is suggested for early detection. The rationale and principles of DR screening are discussed. Based on the available evidence, the magnitude of DR in countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region (EMR) is presented. Public health strategies to control visual disabilities due to DR are discussed. These include generating evidence for planning, implementing standard operating procedures, periodic DR screening, focusing on primary prevention of DR, strengthening DR management, health information management and retrieval systems for DR, rehabilitating DR visually disabled, using low-cost technologies, adopting a comprehensive approach by integrating DR care into the existing health systems, health promotion/counseling, and involving the community. Although adopting the public health approach for DR has been accepted as a priority by member countries of EMR, challenges in implementation remain. These include limitations in the public health approach for DR compared to that for cataract, few skilled workers, poor health systems and lack of motivation in affecting health-related lifestyle changes in diabetics.Visual disabilities due to DR are likely to increase in the coming years. An organized public health approach must be adopted and all stakeholders must work together to control severe visual disabilities due to DR

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oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:3353664Last time updated on 7/8/2012

This paper was published in PubMed Central.

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