On the occasion of the World Diabetes Day, the Lebanese Ophthalmological Society (LOS), in collaboration with global pharmaceutical leader Novartis launched a national awareness campaign under the name of 'Keep your eye on diabetes' 'Khalili Aynak Al Sikkari', during a press conference held on November 15th at Le Grey Hotel, downtown Beirut.
Dr. Elias Chelala, President of Lebanese Ophthalmological Society emphasized that vision is an essential and very valuable human sense that cannot be taken lightly and praised the role of Novartis in supporting this campaign initiative to raise awareness of the direct danger of diabetes on the vision.
In his speech, Dr. Ziad Bashour, gave an overview of how diabetes affects the eye, stressing on the fact that Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema are the main causes of blindness among the working age population. "Vision loss due to Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema are preventable if the patient is diagnosed and treated in a timely fashion, which is why it is crucial to have regular visits to the ophthalmologist at least once a year."
He further emphasized the importance of the close collaboration between ophthalmologists and endocrinologists to ensure proper follow-up and prevention of vision loss among the diabetic population, and stressed on the role of the awareness campaign 'khalili Aynak Al Sikkari' as the first national awareness campaign addressing this issue.
From his side, Mr. Amer Hammoud, Country Operation Head of Novartis Lebanon, underlined that diabetic patients are a central focus of Novartis and the company is collaborating closely with the LOS on this campaign in order to effectively educate the Lebanese population about the link between diabetes and vision loss.
"We strongly believe in the importance of early diagnosis and many diseases could be avoided through simple preventive measures," stated Mr. Hammoud
"Today we are calling upon all the diabetic population to visit an ophthalmologist for an evaluation and avoid a potential loss of vision," he added.