Nepal | March 31, 2020

Timely treatment a must for diabetic eye disease

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, November 15

Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology has warned that untimely treatment of diabetic eye disease could potentially cause severe vision loss.

Diabetic retinopathy, also known as diabetic eye disease, is a medical condition in which damage occurs to the retina due to diabetes.

“On an average 80 patients of diabetic retinopathy have been visiting the hospital on a daily basis. From among these patients, around 10 per cent visit the hospital when the disease has severely affected their vision. Patients usually visit hospital when there is already eyesight threatening condition,” said Dr Ben Limbu, consultant ophthalmologist at Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology.

Diabetic retinopathy involves changes to retinal blood vessels that can cause them to bleed or leak fluid, distorting vision.

“Patients usually visit hospital when they have blurred vision. It is a condition where the blood vessels have already been blocked, or have burst or have started bleeding. Diabetic eye disease is one of the major causes for loss of eyesight,” added Limbu.

Anyone suffering from type 1 diabetes should get their eyes tested within a year. However, for those suffering from type 2 diabetes, they should get their eyesight tested immediately after being diagnosed diabetes, said Dr Limbu.

“People with anaemia, uncontrolled blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and those with smoking and drinking habits should get their eyes tested on a regular basis,” added Limbu. As diabetic retinopathy often goes unnoticed until vision loss occurs, people with diabetes should get their eyes checked regularly. Early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care of diabetic eye disease can protect eyesight.

A fact-sheet released by International Diabetes Federation-2019, reveals that 9.3 per cent of adults aged between 20 and 79 years, a staggering 463 million people, have been living with diabetes. Moreover, 1.1 million children and adolescents below 20 years of age, have been living with type 1 diabetes.

IDF estimates that there will be 578 million adults with diabetes by 2030, and 700 million by 2045.

Diabetes mellitus is the second most prevalent non-communicable disease (8.5 per cent) after chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (11.7 per cent) across the country, according to the Nepal Health Research Council report.

“Diabetes damages and blocks retinal blood vessels. The vessels are weak and they bleed very easily which may affect vision. Sight loss can be prevented if the disease is timely detected and treated,” said a press release issued by the eye hospital.

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