A recent survey by the Indian Optometric Association revealed that while more than 60 percent of adults know that diabetes is detectable through a comprehensive eye exam, only 38 percent of adults who do not wear glasses or contacts have been to an eye doctor in the last two years.
Almost 21 million people in India have diabetes and over six million of those are undiagnosed. Additionally, an estimated 54 million Indians aged 40 to 74 have pre-diabetes, a condition that puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is the number one cause of acquired blindness.
Dr. Hashmi adds that on many occasions, other health-threatening conditions may be discovered during an eye exam. “We can uncover unique signs that may even save someone’s life.
The effects of high blood pressure, anemia and elevated blood cholesterol can be seen during a dilated eye exam because the eye is the only place within the body that blood vessels can be seen in their natural state.
According to Dr Zakir, O.D. Hashmi Health Care and Prevention, Division of Diabetes Translation, “patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy may not notice any changes in their vision, especially during the early treatable stages of the disease, this fact emphasizes the importance of all individuals with diabetes having yearly dilated eye examinations by an optometrist or ophthalmologist”.
“Affordability, continuity, and regular sources of care, as well as physician advice remain core factors significantly associated with receiving this needed care” said Dr. Zakir. “There is an obvious disconnect between adults’ knowledge and their actions when it comes to comprehensive eye exams,” said Dr. Hashmi.