Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of visual impairment among working-age individuals in the Western world, according to numerous large population-based studies. Detailed understanding of the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) in a general population, as well as the association of DR with other detectable conditions (e.g., hypertension) allows for improved awareness, improved patterns of screening and treatment, and subsequently lower incidence and severity of vision loss.
This question is of critical importance in South Asia and specifically in Nepal. According to the World Health Organization, India has the largest diabetic population in the world, projected to reach 79.4 million by 2030. However, previous population-based screening studies from Nepal have shown a higher percentage prevalence of DR than India, a fact of significant public health concern for the country.