The precise prevalence of diabetic retinopathy (DR) is not known in Bolivia. But incidental studies, extrapolation and information from Bolivian endocrinologists and ophthalmologists points to the fact that diabetes and diabetic retinopathy is a worsening problem in the country. It is suggested that Santa Cruz de la Sierra possibly has the highest rates of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, followed by Cochabamba and lastly by La Paz, among the major cities in the country.
After our discussions with local ophthalmologists and diabetes experts in the country, Retina Global planned an initiative, referred to as the Bolivian Diabetic Retinopathy (BOLDR) Project that is focused on screening the population of Cochabamba and its surrounding areas for DR, followed by providing standard-of-care treatment to those who need it. As part of this project, we also focused on providing local ophthalmologists with skills in screening patients for diabetic retinopathy, and training them to diagnose and treat routine DR conditions. This training also helps them understand when to refer a patient to an expert for further management, thus reducing the time lag between diagnosis of a condition in a patient’s eye and the treatment given, which potentially reduces the chances of blindness in the patient.
As part of this mission, in the first phase of this project, volunteer retina specialists from the United States and other parts of the world will travel to Cochabamba once every two months to provide care, train and teach ophthalmologists. Our local partners in Cochabamba, Fundacion de Boliviana Oftalmologia, will conduct outreach missions once every 15 days into the community as well as the outskirts of Cochabamba to examine patients and to provide treatment via portable devices. If the patient requires additional treatment, he/she will be referred back to the clinic. Such patients will also be examined by the visiting retina specialists from Retina Global.
We are also working with local ophthalmologists as partners, and with local diabetes associations and other organizations. We have also involved specialists such as endocrinologists, nephrologists, etc. in the project, to provide comprehensive treatment and teaching plan. The idea is to bring everyone on board so that we can achieve the objectives we have defined in this project.
This project has the support of Sociedad Boliviana de Oftalmología and Sociedad Boliviana de Retina.
To contact us:
- If you are a retina specialist and would like to be involved in our mission trips, please click here.
- If you live in Cochabamba and would like to be involved in the BOLDR project as an ophthalmologist or a volunteer, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you are a drug or device company, and wish to support our work in any way, please write to email@example.com. We will be glad to provide you any information you may need to make a decision.
- If you wish to donate to the project, and receive tax benefits, you can send us a check on our address or donate online.