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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 106

Inclusion of basic vitreoretina training in Indian ophthalmology residency programmes - Need of the hour!

Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology and Vitreoretina Consultant, NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences, Hingna, Nagpur, India

Date of Web Publication31-Jul-2015

Correspondence Address:
Bodhraj Dhawan
Assistant Professor and Vitreoretina Consultant, Department of Ophthalmology, NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences, Hingna, Nagpur
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.161952

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How to cite this article:
Dhawan B. Inclusion of basic vitreoretina training in Indian ophthalmology residency programmes - Need of the hour!. Educ Health 2015;28:106

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Dhawan B. Inclusion of basic vitreoretina training in Indian ophthalmology residency programmes - Need of the hour!. Educ Health [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Jun 1];28:106. Available from:

Dear Editor

As a practicing retina specialist, I note that most of our practice is diabetic retinopathy requiring either laser treatment or a vitreoretinal surgery. The vast magnitude of the problem is a cause of concern not only to the patient but also to all of us in the healthcare delivery system. Are we well-enough equipped to fight this epidemic, even more so in the future when it will grow in magnitude?

The prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) in developing countries, especially India, has been increasing over recent years. India harbours more than 62 million diabetic individuals currently diagnosed with the disease, the largest number in the world. This makes us the diabetes capital of the world. [1] It is predicted that by 2030, DM may afflict up to 79.4 million individuals in India, while China (42.3 million) and the United States (30.3 million) will also see significant increases in those affected by the disease. [2],[3]

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common microvascular complication of DM; and it has serious implications in terms of the huge burden resulting in blindness and visual impairment. Indian data suggest that 10% of diabetic patients develop severe retinopathy requiring either laser or surgical intervention. [4] This means that in India we have over 6.2 million diabetic patients who need trained retina specialists to treat them.

Training to treat vitreoretinal diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, is currently not part of ophthalmology residency programmes in most medical colleges in India. When such training is offered, it is usually as a post-residency fellowship by premier eye-care institutes in India. However, only few institutes in the country offer this type of post-residency fellowship; and the number of ophthalmologists opting for post-residency fellowship training is not large since it requires two years of additional education after a masters degree. [4]

In India, there are more than 110 medical colleges that offer ophthalmology postgraduate training programmes, training around 900 ophthalmologists annually. Unfortunately, due to various factors, the majority of these programs may lack infrastructure, facilities, experienced faculty and sometimes even the most basic of diagnostic equipment [5]

The grim reality is that the number of practicing vitreoretina specialists on the rolls of the Vitreoretinal Society of India is about 600, who have the responsibility of addressing the needs of 6.2 million diabetic patients with severe diabetic retinopathy necessitating some form of vitreoretinal intervention.

I strongly contend that the inclusion of vitreoretina training in Indian ophthalmology training programmes will help bridge this gap and, thus, better prepare India to cope with this epidemic of diabetic blindness!

  References Top

Joshi SR, Parikh RM. India - diabetes capital of the world: Now heading towards hypertension. J Assoc Physicians India 2007;55:323-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
Wild S, Roglic G, Green A, Sicree R, King H. Global prevalence of diabetes: Estimates for the year 2000 and projections for 2030. Diabetes Care 2004;27:1047-53.  Back to cited text no. 2
Whiting DR, Guariguata L, Weil C, Shaw J. IDF diabetes atlas: Global estimates of the prevalence of diabetes for 2011 and 2030. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2011;94:311-21.  Back to cited text no. 3
Narendran V, John RK, Raghuram A, Ravindran RD, Nirmalan PK, Thulasiraj RD. Diabetic retinopathy among self reported diabetics in southern India: A population based assessment. Br J Ophthalmol 2002;86:1014-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
Murthy GV, Gupta SK, Bachani D, Sanga L, John N, Tewari HK. Status of speciality training in ophthalmology in India. Indian J Ophthalmol 2005;53:135-42.  Back to cited text no. 5
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