With approximately 70 million people affected at present, and 100 million predicted by 2030, India endures an exceptional burden of diabetes mellitus. Consequently, diabetic retinopathy (DR) rates are constantly on the rise. In the urban slums, inadequate treatment, lack of adherence to science-based modern medications and poor diabetes control make people more vulnerable to complications, including DR. With the aim to estimate the prevalence and risk factors for DR progression, and to create awareness for early detection and develop timely interventions in the slums of Mumbai, a group of researchers developed the Aditya Jyot-Diabetic Retinopathy in Urban Mumbai Slums Study (AJ-DRUMSS) project.

In this video Paolo Lanzetta, MD, dwells on the details of this project with Sundaram Natarajan, MD, Principal Investigator of the study. He also interrogates his guest on other remarkable humanitarian initiatives he has launched in his area.

Report 3, of the AJ-DRUMSS, dealing with risk factors, was recently published by PLOS Global Public Health and is available at this link: https://journals.plos.org/globalpublichealth/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgph.0000351



Sundaram Natarajan, MD, IVEG member, is the founder and Chief Clinical Services of the Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital in Mumbai, and founder and managing trustee of the Public Charitable Trust- Kamala Sundaram Foundation, earlier known as Aditya Jyot Foundation for Twinkling Little Eyes (AJFTLE). The Foundation runs outreach programs in rural and urban slums and tribal areas of India.

Prof. Natarajan has pioneered and developed several techniques in vitreoretinal surgery, novel approaches to complex trauma surgery, and has greatly contributed to bringing global knowledge and innovative techniques to his country. Has performed over 65,000 Vitreoretinal surgeries in the past four decades .

In 2005, he started a free clinic in Dharavi, a slum in Mumbai, and treated more than 8,000 people. He has also held free camps in various other suburbs of Mumbai such as Mankhurd and Govandi to treat the economically poor. In 2016, he also held a camp in Kashmir to operate and treat the victims of pellet guns in Kasmir.

In 2013, he was awarded with Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honor. Other awards that he earned for his scientific achievements and humanitarian action include the Guzi Peace Prize, the Wistex Foundation Man of the Millennium Award, the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement Award and the Spirit of Humanity Award. He holds a Guinness World Record for the screening 649 diabetes patients in 8 hours during a screening campaign in Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum.


Paolo Lanzetta, MD, Director of IVEG, is Professor and Chairman of Ophthalmology at the University of Udine, Italy, where he is also the Director of the Ophthalmology Residency Program and the President elect of the School of Medicine. His main areas of activity are laser applications in ophthalmology, multimodal imaging, diagnosis and treatment of vitreous, retinal and macular diseases, and cataract surgery. Recently, he has developed a new research interest in artificial intelligence. Professor Lanzetta is actively involved in retinal clinical research and is currently an investigator in many international multicenter clinical trials on photodynamic therapy, anti-angiogenic and newer drugs and delivery systems.  With surgical experience in anterior and posterior segment procedures and laser treatments, Professor Lanzetta has given over 400 presentations at national and international meetings and contributed multiple chapters to ophthalmology textbooks.  He is a member of numerous professional societies, including the Macula Society and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) where he served as Co-Chair of the Retina Section Program Committee. As well as publishing 200 original articles, Professor Lanzetta is a scientific reviewer for many journals and serves in the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Ophthalmology.

Professor Lanzetta is also the founder and scientific director of IEMO -Istituto Europeo di Microchirurgia Oculare, part of Sanoptis group, a European leader in ophthalmology services, and the founder of the Centro di Formazione e Simulazione in Chirurgia Oculare “Maria Masieri Calvani” -CeFoSCO, a modern laboratory specifically focused on teaching of ophthalmic surgery through the use of simulators, wet- and dry-lab. Professor Lanzetta is on the Ophthalmologist Power List of 2022.