Bengaluru: Incidence of diabetes induced eye problems have increased significantly in the last decade and Doctors at Dr Agarwal Eye Hospital Bengaluru have warned that people suffering from diabetes should watch out for loss of vision. India, which is considered the diabetes capital of the world, is facing an imminent challenge to control the disease burden of diabetes and associated health issues due to the disease. People with diabetes for more than 5 years are more prone to develop diabetic retinopathy.
Dr. Rakesh Seenappa, consultant ophthalmologist, Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital Bengaluru, said, “The worrying rate of increase in prevalence of Diabetes is a great cause of concern, and it has also significantly induced an increase in diabetic eye problems. The main challenge of fighting diabetic retinopathy is early diagnosis and treatment. Whenever the blood glucose stays high every time, it can damage the tiny blood vessels in the back of your eyes. If they have had diabetes for more than five years, it is likely that most of patients will develop diabetic retinopathy. Though the symptoms might start as a mild disease, but the Diabetic Retinopathy can cause severe visual impairment and, in some cases, blindness especially with diabetic patients those with high sugar levels.”
Dr. Rakesh Seenappa, added, “The biggest cause of concern is people are not aware and have no idea of the consequences of ignoring diabetes can have on the eye. Most of the patients who come to our hospital with diabetic retinopathy are either undiagnosed with diabetes yet or those who have already been diagnosed but on irregular treatment. Most of these patients haven’t visited their physician or diabetologist for more than six months or one year and this makes the problem more severe.”
Diabetic Retinopathy can be broadly classified as non-proliferative and proliferative Retinopathy. Non proliferating diabetic retinopathy is the earlier forms of diabetic retinopathy. Retina is the nerve layer of the eyes which connects the eyes to the brain and helps in interpretation of the images. Human body as such does not have the capacity to regenerate the nerve tissue. So whatever damage occurs to the retina because of diabetic retinopathy is permanent. With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, further damage can be prevented, and the remaining functioning nerve fibers can be saved.
“The various treatment modalities available are retinal lasers, intravitreal anti-VEGF infection and vitrectomy surgeries. At present intravitreal injections are emerging as one of the main lines of treatment for most forms of retinopathy. But all these treatment modalities will be effective only if the patient is able to control his or sugar levels because diabetic retinopathy is just a complication of uncontrolled diabetes. The cause is high blood glucose levels, unless we address the cause we cannot treat the complication effectively. Even if we do treat the retinal Pathology with satisfactory result, it can always recur in the future if the diabetes is uncontrolled”, says Dr Rakesh Seenappa
It is not the diabetes which blinds, it is the uncontrolled diabetes which does, and it is always better to get diagnosed at the earliest. If already diagnosed with diabetes, make sure to visit the nearest ophthalmologist for a retina checkup. If a person is non-diabetic, make sure to get a general health checkup with the physician and general eye examination with an ophthalmologist done at least once a year.