Diabetic Eye Disease: Building Capacity To Prevent Blindness

Understand the diabetes challenge and how health professionals can work with people with diabetes to prevent blindness. Learn the key facts about diabetic eye disease and its management, and how health teams and people with diabetes can work together to reduce the risk of vision loss and blindness.

Week 1: The challenge of diabetic eye disease 

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Welcome to the course 

Introduce yourself to the other learners

An introduction to the main course objectives and a chance to think about how you learn. There is also an opportunity to introduce yourself and meet fellow learners for the first time.

Introducing diabetes

Weight gain, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are signs indicating a high risk developing type 2 diabetesIntroducing diabetes, its causes and classification. Understand the the global burden of diabetes and its impact on individuals and health systems.

Diabetes and the eye

Stage 5: proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Image © Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust CC BY-NC-SA 4.0How does diabetes affect the eyes and how can risk factors for this disease impact vision? Learn to recognise the different grades of vision threathening diabetic retinopathy.



The challenge of diabetic retinopathy

Diabetes screening, Madagascar © IAPB/VISION 2020 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Why a public health approach is essential, to prevent visual impairment from diabetic eye disease and support the clinical management pathways for diabetes in the health system


Week 2 : Early detection: What is screening for diabetic eye disease?

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Screening as a public health approach

Illustration of a population taking a screening test

The principles of screening and how it’s used in practice to prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. Recognise the challenges people with diabetes face in managing this disease and its eye complications

Selecting the right screening test

Retinal examination, USA © National Eye Institute, NIH CC BY-NC-2.0

Discover the key characteristics shared by good diabetic retinopathy screening programmes. Learn how to identify the right screening test and interval for early detection of sight threatening diabetic retinopathy

Access to and acceptance of screening

Taking screening into the community with referral to the hospital for treatment

People with diabetes face many challenges in accessing and accepting the need for diabetic retinopathy screening. Explore how health workers can empower them to adhere to screening over the long term.



Planning services for diabetic eye disease

Professor Murthy discusses the situation analysis of the DR  programme in India

Consider the findings of a situation analysis of the India DR programme. Take the first steps in planning a diabetic eye disease service for Ormo district by evaluating its 6 health system blocks and setting specific priorities.

Week 3 : How do we carry out diabetic retinopathy screening?

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Building partnerships and pathways

People with diabetes choices affect the progression on the disease

Discover the partnerships between health services that are essential to support each person with diabetes and coordinate their long-term diabetes eye care needs.

Creating a team approach to screening and grading

Grader training in a darkened room, UKScreening and grading need to be highly organised and managed by trained personnel. In this activity, learn how a team approach and local practical protocols are used to guide this complex process.

Setting priorities and monitoring implementation

Examining a patient in the clinic  © Anthony Hall CC BY-NC-SA-4.0

Learn how screening services monitor activities to ensure they are carrying out the planned activities and reaching the people they are meant to.


Week 4 : Treating diabetic eye disease

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Health systems and treatment decisions

Counselling the patient before treatment

Providing treatment for diabetic eye disease is highly resource dependent. How can treatment decisions be aligned with what is available within a health system and for the best outcome?

Managing treatment options

Laser treatment in progress

Protocols for treatment options are based on the presenting diabetic eye disease and need to involve the patient to accept the long term care and outcomes.

Ask the experts

3 learners ask our experts questions on different devicesYour chance to question our global panel of experts about the challenge of anti-VEGF treatment and its place in low resource health system, and – more generally – about the treatment options for diabetic eye disease

Models of treatment services

Dr Wanjiku Mathenge speaking

Low resource settings have an urgent need to develop locally relevant models of care and efficiently use the available resources to prevent diabetes related blindness

Course summary


Reflect on the topics covered in the course and some possible applications of what you have learned.

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