The Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology

Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology:

Issue 1, January/February 2018 Review Article

Diabetic Retinopathy in the Asia-Pacific

Chua, Jacqueline; Lim, Claire Xin Ying; Wong, Tien Yin; Sabanayagam, Charumathi



Author Information


From the *Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore; †Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Academic Clinical Program and ‡Centre for Quantitative Medicine, Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School, Singapore; §University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; and ¶Department of Ophthalmology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore and National University Health System, Singapore


Reprints: Charumathi Sabanayagam, PhD, Singapore Eye Research Institute, The Academia, 20 College Road Discovery Tower Level 6, Singapore 169856. E-mail: 
charumathi.sabanayagam@seri.com.sg.



Abstract


Diabetic retinopathy (DR), the most common complication of diabetes mellitus, is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in middle-aged and elderly in the Asia-Pacific. It has been estimated that 51% of all those with blindness due to DR globally (n = 424,400) and 56% of those with visual impairment due to DR (2.1 million) come from the Asia-Pacific. Prevalence of DR among those with diabetes ranged from 10% in India to 43% in Indonesia within the Asia-Pacific. Awareness of DR among persons with diabetes ranged from 28% to 84%. Most common modifiable risk factors for DR in the Asia-Pacific were hyperglycemia, blood pressure, dyslipidemia, and obesity. Implementation of systematic screening programs for DR and advancement in telemedicine screening methods have increased patient coverage and cost-effectiveness, though there are still numerous factors impeding screening uptake in the low-middle income regions of the Asia-Pacific. Management and treatment of DR in the Asia-Pacific is mainly limited to traditional laser retinopexy, but it is suboptimal despite new clinical approaches such as use of intravitreal anti.vascular endothelial growth factor and steroids due to limited resources. Further research and data are required to structure a more cost-effective public healthcare program and more awareness-building initiatives to increase the effectiveness of DR screening programs.




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