The increase in life expectancy coupled with a heavy burden of diabetes has greatly increased vision problems among the Indian population. According to data provided by 2 international bodies, cases of near vision loss have more than doubled in India – to 137.6 million in 2020 from 57.7 million in 1990. The main factors leading to vision problems in the population are diabetic retinopathy (DR) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), including cataracts.
AMD is a chronic, age-related degenerative disease of the macula. The macula maintains central vision and allows fine detail to be seen. There are two types of AMD: wet AMD and dry AMD. The progression of dry AMD is slow and is usually less severe compared to the wet type. However, both of these types damage the macula and can suppress central vision. On the other hand, diabetic retinopathy usually occurs in diabetic patients. The disease occurs when the retina is damaged due to diabetes. Without proper timely treatment, DR can cause blurred vision and bleeding in the eyes and also destroy the retina.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy Market Size
In 2021, the AMD Treatment Market was valued at USD 8208.70 Million and is projected to reach USD 12.85 Billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 7.7% during the forecast period. The major factors contributing to the growth of the AMD treatment market are the increasing burden of retinal disorders, increasing investment in research and development, and an upsurge in the geriatric population. Dry AMD is caused by the formation of deposits under the retina; and wet AMD is caused by abnormal growth of blood vessels under the macula. Wet AMD accounts for a larger market share due to the increasing prevalence of this disease compared to dry AMD. The segment also has a growth rate of 7% and is growing faster than the dry DMA segment.
For Diabetic Retinopathy, the global DR market size was valued at USD 3,086.00 Million in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 10,785.50 Million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 13.7%. According to a Lancet article published in 2018, the annual incidence of diabetic retinopathy ranges from 2.2% to 12.7% worldwide. This can be a great opportunity for pharmaceutical manufacturers to capitalize on the same and expand their market share. In addition, several new diabetic retinopathy drug launches and approvals are expected to drive the diabetic retinopathy market growth during the forecast period. Asia-Pacific region is witnessing good growth in diabetic retinopathy market owing to increasing disposable income, innovation in diagnostic approaches, large pool of patients and government health insurance policies .
Ways to prevent age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy
There are different ways to slow or prevent the progression of AMD and DR. Here are some of the ways:
Prevention of age-related macular degeneration:
- Quit smoking: Smoking doubles a person’s risk of developing AMD. Free radicals and unstable molecules released by tobacco smoke can damage cells and prevent essential nutrients from reaching the eyes.
- Eat green vegetables: People should include plenty of green leafy vegetables in their diet like Swiss chard, kale, and spinach as they are rich in antioxidant vitamins. These nutrients can protect against harmful cell damage resulting from free radicals.
- Supplements: People should consider consuming vitamins for macular degeneration as they decrease the risk of getting the most severe forms of AMD.
- Glasses: Good glasses can protect the eyes from blue light and UV rays that can damage the retina.
Prevention of diabetic retinopathy
- Manage diabetes: People with diabetes should focus on physical activity and healthy eating as part of their daily routine. At least 150 minutes per week should be devoted to moderate activities such as walking, yoga, etc. Insulin or oral medications should be taken properly as directed by the doctor.
- Stopping smoking: Smoking increases the risk of developing various complications of diabetes, including DR.
- Check blood sugar levels regularly: Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is crucial, especially if a person is stressed or ill.
- Diabetic eye screening: Even if a person’s diabetes is under control, it is important to attend diabetic eye screening appointments to catch any problems before they become a big problem.
AMD and DR can significantly affect vision and quality of life. But diabetic retinopathy is much more complex than AMD because there are many forms of retinopathy that can affect vision and sight and can lead to blindness and vision loss if not treated in time.
By Ms. Anjula Masurkar, Clinical Director, Entod Pharmaceuticals
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