Author(s): R. Beena, G. Thiruvengada Senthil Kumar

BACKGROUND Diabetes mellitus has exponentially increased from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in year 2014 with the prevalence rate nearly doubling from 4.7% to 8.5%. Since it affects the economically productive age group; the impact of visual loss will not only be important for the person affected but also for the society at large. Diabetes currently affects around 69.2 million Indians (2015) and this is projected to go up to 109 million by year 2035. Hence the need of the hour is to recognize vision loss caused by diabetes and redirect our efforts to preserve vision. MATERIALS AND METHODS This study is part of a long term prospective study involving screening of diabetic patients for ocular diseases. As the first part of the series, data was collected from 455 diabetic patients who visited the ophthalmology department of Kanyakumari government medical college between March 2016 and August 2016 for defective vision. The patients were evaluated for visual acuity, slit lamp examination, intraocular pressure, gonioscopy, fields and fundus examination. RESULTS Data was analysed using SPSS. Among the common ocular manifestations, cataracts were more common in females and Diabetic Retinopathy was more common in males. The common ocular diseases were cataract 69% followed by Diabetic Retinopathy 23.7% and glaucoma 7.5%. CONCLUSION Patient awareness regarding cataract is good and is managed surgically. Diabetic Retinopathy has got specific screening protocols which if adhered to will help detect cases early. Glaucoma detection however suffers from lack of patient awareness, subjective performance of field tests and objective variations in disc evaluation. Glaucoma evaluation can be improved by combining it with Diabetic Retinopathy screening.