GPHC introducing modern method to detect eye complications -World Diabetic Day to be observed on November 13


GPHC, Guyana, Thursday, November 10, 2016

The theme of World Diabetes Day 2016 is Eyes on Diabetes. The year’s activities and materials will focus on promoting the importance of screening to ensure early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and treatment to reduce the risk of serious complications. This annual event is coordinated by the International Diabetes Federation. Some key points from the IDF on the awareness of diabetes and eye complications are:

  • Diabetes is a huge and growing burden: 415 million adults were living with diabetes in 2015 and this number is expected to increase to around 642 million or one in ten adults by 2040.
  • One in two adults with diabetes is undiagnosed.
  • Many people live with type 2 diabetes for a long period of time without being aware of their condition. By the time of diagnosis, diabetes complications may already be present.
  • Of the 415 million adults worldwide living with diabetes in 2015,1 over one third will develop some form of diabetic retinopathy – a complication of diabetes that can lead to vision impairment and blindness.
  • More than 93 million adults, or one in three, currently living with diabetes have diabetic retinopathy.
  • The management of diabetes and its complications begins in primary health care and this should include screening for diabetic retinopathy
  • Early detection and timely treatment of diabetic retinopathy can prevent vision loss and reduce the impact of diabetes on individuals, their carers and society.
  • Careful management of diabetes and screening for diabetic eye disease can help prevent visual impairment and blindness.

In honour of World Diabetes Day, the Ministry of Public Health and the Georgetown Public Hospital has been collaborating with the World Diabetes Foundation, University of Toronto and Orbis International in the establishment of the Guyana Diabetic Retinopathy Programme (a subsidiary of the Guyana Diabetes Care Project).

The Guyana Diabetic Retinopathy Programme will introduce for the first time in Guyana easy access to all diabetics to have their eyes screened/checked for Diabetic Eye Complications. Usually, diabetics begin to have changes in their eyes and are not aware of these changes. They only method of detecting these changes in the past was an annual eye examination by an ophthalmologist.

The GPHC will now be introducing a modern method of detecting eye complication. That is to have digital retinal photos taken of the inside of the eye. These photos will then be read by highly trained eyecare professionals who will then grade the stage of retinopathy. Patients can book their appointments for testing through the facebook page: or by email: They can also walk-in to book appointments for opportunistic screening on the same day.

This programme is also being developed to offer laser treatment to patients. Over the past two years this project was being developed and put into place at the GPHC’s Eye Clinic and is being led by the Head of Ophthalmology Department, Dr Shailendra Sugrim. The main donor is the World Diabetes Foundation which helped to procure expensive retinal cameras, ophthalmological examination instruments and also for the first time in the public system, a retinal laser to treat patients who have severe diabetic eye complications. The programme will also be embarking on spreading awareness to physicians and the public about diabetic eye complications; training of medical professionals on various diabetic eye complications, how and when to refer patients for testing  and also in managing essential data on diabetic eye complications.

This lecture session will be conducted by Dr Ronnie Bhola and team from Trinindad (Caribbean Vitreo-Retinal Surgery). Dr. Bhola has been the primary eye surgeon in Trinidad that most diabetic patients have been visiting for vitrectomy surgeries over the past few years. During this visit to Guyana, he will be performing minor vitreo-retinal surgeries and also some cataract related surgeries all day on Friday 11, 2016.

The Department of Ophthalmology will also be collaborating with the Guyana Diabetes Association and the Ministry of Public Health in a Grand Gala and Exhibition in honour of World Diabetes Day on November 13, 2016 at the Ramada Princess Hotel.