Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)  has become a global healthcare challenge today due to the wide prevalence of diabetes worldwide.  There are over 422 million with diabetes worldwide as per the WHO, and the numbers are rising at an alarming rate.  Everyone with diabetes is at risk for DR,   and preventing vision impairment and loss requires periodic screenings by a trained professional.

However, as the chart below from the International Council of Ophthalmology shows, there are not enough trained eye doctors in many parts of the world to screen everyone at risk.  In India,  for example, there are over 72 million people with diabetes and  an estimated 25 million are afflicted with DR and 7 million with VTDR.  However, India only has 15,000 trained ophthalmologists in a nation of 1.3 billion people –   or a mere 9 specialists per a million people.  Kenya, with a population of 48 million has less than 100 ophthalmologists, and Angola, less than 20 for 29 million people.  In addition to the dire shortage of trained professionals, many of the affected people live in remote areas with little or no access to an eye care clinic or a screening center.

Source: International Council of Ophthalmology. Number of Ophthalmologists in Practice and Training Worldwide.

Diabetic Retinopathy is clearly a global health care challenge that urgently needs innovative solutions in order to prevent vision loss among millions of people at risk worldwide.  Recent advances in Artificial Intelligence can be harnessed to address this challenge.  Click here to learn how AI can help.