Old diabetes patients at high risk of retinopathy

Kathmandu, November 5

With the increase in the number of diabetic patients, the cases of diabetic retinopathy are also on the rise.

Diabetic patients suffer from this disease when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina.

People, who have had diabetes for 20 years or more, are more likely to suffer from diabetic eye disease, said Sanyam Bajimaya, phaco and retina specialist. Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in people having diabetes.

Ramesh, 49, (name changed) was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 40.  Now he is under medication and goes for regular eye check-up. Nephew of Ramesh, Rajat (name changed) was also diagnosed with diabetes when he was 18.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, Ramesh said, “I did not know that diabetes can be hereditary. Since doctors told me that diabetic patients have high chances of having diabetic eye disease, I along with my nephew came to Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology for check-up.” He said early diagnosis might help him avoid eye disease.

According to Bajimaya, 20 to 30 per cent diabetic patients have eye problems in the country. “Since many diabetic patients do not know that diabetes can cause blindness, they do not go for regular eye check-up and thus end up losing eye sight,” added Bajimaya.

“In the last five years, the number of diabetic patients visiting eye hospitals has increased sharply which shows that more people are now aware of this problem,” Bajimaya said.