Diabetic retinopathy hits global vision

More and more people around the world are losing their sight from diabetic retinopathy, new study concludes


While the UK has managed a win in the area of diabetic retinopathy (DR), the global picture is far from rosy.

Now, more than a third of blind people across the world lost their vision from DR, according to new research.

An international team found that, in 2010, 39% of all cases of blindness worldwide were caused by the condition, up from 27% in 1990.

East Asia, tropic Latin America and south Sub-Saharan Africa had the most cases of people blind from diabetes-related causes, according to the paper published in the journal Diabetes Care.

The researchers, including Anglia Ruskin University ophthalmologist, Professor Rupert Bourne, said that the introduction of better screening, education, disease control and treatment is required to address the growing problem.

Professor Bourne emphasised that: “With the alarming prevalence of vision loss due to diabetes rising more than two-thirds in the last 20 years, the precipitous global epidemic of diabetes must be addressed.”

The UK appears to be bucking this trend, with unrelated research finding a drop in diabetes-related blindness in the country since 2007–08.