Blindness related with diabetes discussed

Kathmandu, November 11

Over 50 per cent patients visiting Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, according to Dr Eli Pradhan, president at Nepal Vitreo Retinal Society and also a retina specialist at TIO.

As many as 100 patients visit the TIO daily. Dr Pradhan said diabetes patients are at high risk of kidney and heart diseases.

At a function organised by Star Hospital today to raise awareness of diabetes, health experts talked about kinds of diabetes and ways to manage blood sugar levels.  They also talked about diabetic retinopathy. Caused by the damage of blood vessels of the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina), diabetic retinopathy may have no symptom.

Doctors advised patients to have a regular eye check-up. “When one suffers from diabetes, fat gets deposited in macula. There there is swelling of retina and one can’t see distant objects. There is loss of vision during night. It then leads to complete blindness,” said Dr Sanyam Bajimaya, cataract and vitreo retinal surgeon at TIO.

Dr Bajimaya added, “Nine per cent patients of diabetic retinopathy suffer from blindness due to delay in treatment.”

Eye specialists said blindness due to diabetic retinopathy could be prevented through early detection of the condition and its treatment.

As per World Health Organisation, 8.5 per cent adults aged 18 years and older had diabetes in 2014. In 2015, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.6 million deaths. The number of people with diabetes had risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.

Meanwhile, Dr Anil Pokhrel, senior consultant nephrologist, said patients visited nephrologists when 60 per cent of their kidneys were already damaged. “It’s difficult to save the kidneys when they visit the hospitals late. The patients should regularly visit the doctors and have their kidneys tested,” said Dr Pokhrel.

Similarly, Dr Prakash Raj Regmi, cardiologist, shed light advised patients to keep their body weight in check, include green leafy vegetables and fruits in their diet, exercise regularly and avoid junk food, alcohol intake and smoking to maintain blood sugar levels.

According to Nepal Diabetes Association, prevalence of diabetes in people aged 20 years and above is 14. 6 per cent in urban areas and 2.5 per cent in rural areas in Nepal.