Eye health professionals urged to take action against diabetic eye disease in Fiji

Monday 28th December 2009

Following a recent study conducted by The Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand, a disturbing number of people are suffering from diabetes in Fiji, placing it as one of the world’s top diabetes rates. A shocking four in ten people were found to be suffering from the condition with a disturbing third of them being oblivious to their condition. Medical professionals have now turned to eye specialists in the hope that adequate training will enable them to detect the disease promptly to prevent the blinding disease.

With the increasing concern of the growth in diabetes worldwide, Fiji’s message serves as a poignant one to other countries. Equally, with its low medical funds already, the healthcare systems dedication to begin the training of eye care specialists as early a February 2010 shows the severity of the problem expressively. With their focus being aimed at eye care professionals it does beg the question as to whether eye care specialists in the UK are as alert as is necessary.

With the number of people who are suffering from diabetes expected to rise to a worrying 350 million in less than 20 years, perhaps we all need to take note of Fiji’s harrowing news. With regular two year eye tests, diabetes can be found quicker and more efficiently in many cases; and with an eye condition that can unnecessarily lead to the sufferer going blind, it seems little to ask for eye professionals to be trained in the early warning signs of diabetic eye disease. With Fiji’s already limited resources but their commitment to putting a stop to this devastating disease, perhaps we all need to follow suit.

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