4th International Advisory Board meeting held in Mumbai

The 4th ORNATE-India International Advisory Board meeting was held in Mumbai on 10th January 2020, hosted by Dr Sundaram Natarajan and Dr Radhika Krishnan from the Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital.

Professor Sobha Sivaprasad, the project lead from Moorfields Eye Hospital London, briefly outlined the aims of the ORNATE-India study and described the individual work packages and the impact at global, national, local and individual levels. She highlighted the research capacity and capability building both in India and the UK as well as the publications arising from the study, further collaborations, funding and achievements particularly the policy change in Kerala i.e. the up-scaling of the diabetic retinopathy care pathway across the state of Kerala, and the recruitment of over 50,000 participants to the SMART-India study. She concluded by saying that diabetic retinopathy screening is technically challenging and that it is an on-going process of training and building capacity. The project leads for each of the work packages presented progress updates and this was followed by lively discussions and recommendations from the International Advisory Board.

Dr Rajiv Raman, Project Lead in India for the SMART-India Study

The trip to Mumbai provided an opportunity for me and some of the IAB members to see first-hand the activities being undertaken in the SMART-India study. We visited an apartment block in an urban area where the fieldworkers from the Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital, one of the 20 sites participating in the study, consented participants to the study, collected demographic data, took anthropometric and blood pressure measurements. Pre-diabetes and diabetes was detected using random blood sugar and point of care glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) tests. The participants that were diagnosed with prediabetes and diabetes had their retinal images taken using a portable smartphone retinal camera.

A fieldworker doing finger prick blood sampling to measure blood sugar

Dr Natarajan and Dr Radhika organised a visit to the Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital, Mumbai, to see its cutting-edge facilities both for basic and advanced diagnostic tests and surgeries for eye diseases.

In addition, we visited the Aditya Jyot Eye Clinic, in the Dharavi region, which caters to the eye needs of the slum population. This eye clinic is part of the Aditya Jyot Foundation For Twinkling Little Eyes, a not for profit body, set up in 2005 with a mission to prevent avoidable blindness through awareness generation, eye screening and provide access to quality eye care at an affordable price.