Key facts on di­a­betic retinopa­thy

Jamaica Gleaner - - WORLD SIGHT DAY -

Blunt trauma is due to a direct blow to the eye by a blunt ob­ject. Usu­ally the eye­ball re­mains in­tact, but there can be very se­ri­ous in­ter­nal dam­age to the eye, which can re­sult in vis­ual loss. It can cause dam­age, not only to the eye, but also to sur­round­ing tis­sues, e.g., eye­lids, or­bital bones, si­nuses.

Com­mon causes of blunt trauma to the eye are cricket, ten­nis and squash ball in­juries, fist or el­bow in­juries, stones and other mis­siles, belt buckle and bungee cord in­juries.

All cases of blunt trauma should be seen by an oph­thal­mol­o­gist, who can ex­am­ine the eye and iden­tify any se­ri­ous dam­age. Some­times, the dam­age may not present un­til days, weeks, months or even years af­ter the in­jury. A child with a his­tory of blunt eye trauma, even af­ter he/she are feel­ing bet­ter, should have his/her eye ex­am­ined by an oph­thal­mol­o­gist, at least an­nu­ally, for the rest of his/her life.


A pen­e­trat­ing eye in­jury is one which breaches the wall of the eye­ball. It is usu­ally caused by a sharp ob­ject. These in­juries are often very se­ri­ous, be­cause apart from the dam­age that they cause to the oc­u­lar struc­tures, they can also cause in­fec­tion to get into the eye­ball. Even when these in­juries heal, they al­most al­ways heal with a scar, which can re­duce vi­sion con­sid­er­ably, es­pe­cially if the cornea, the clear win­dow in the front of the eye, is af­fected.

Ob­jects that com­monly cause pen­e­trat­ing eye in­juries in­clude sticks or twigs, nails or screws, pen­cils, pens, ice picks, com­passes, fish hooks, scis­sors, knives, metal coat hang­ers.


Chem­i­cal in­juries are com­mon, and eas­ily pre­vented. They are caused by chem­i­cal agents spilling or splash­ing into the eye. These can cause burns and scar­ring on the front of the eye, re­sult­ing in blind­ness, if se­vere.

Com­mon agents that cause chem­i­cal eye in­juries in­clude bleach, acid, gas or kerosene.

In chem­i­cal eye in­juries, first aid is most im­por­tant, and can af­fect the fi­nal out­come. The most im­por­tant part of treat­ment is to flush out the chem­i­cal with as much clean water as pos­si­ble, usu­ally for a pe­riod of 15 min­utes, even be­fore seek­ing med­i­cal at­ten­tion.


Mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents ac­count for a large per­cent­age of child­hood eye trauma. All three types of child­hood eye in­juries can be caused

Keep all sharp ob­jects out of the reach of chil­dren.

Keep all chem­i­cals out of the reach of chil­dren. For older chil­dren who will be han­dling chem­i­cals e.g., chem­istry stu­dents, pro­tec­tive gog­gles are ad­vised. I Check all toys for sharp or pointed parts. I Take pre­cau­tions when us­ing pointed im­ple­ments e.g., scis­sors, knives, ice picks, hang­ers.

Avoid games with mis­siles, e.g., bows and ar­rows, darts.

In­sist on eye pro­tec­tion i.e., gog­gles, pro­tec­tive glasses, in ball and con­tact sports.

Teach chil­dren never to throw stones, and es­pe­cially not at other peo­ple. I Avoid fire­works. I En­sure that chil­dren are in age-ap­pro­pri­ate car seats, boost­ers or seat belts, when trav­el­ling in mo­tor ve­hi­cles.

Never hit a child with a belt; many chil­dren have lost vi­sion per­ma­nently be­cause they were hit with a belt, and ac­ci­den­tally caught in the eye.


In the event that there has been an eye in­jury: Do not rub or put pres­sure on the eye. Do not try to re­move an ob­ject, which is stuck or pro­trud­ing from the eye. Do not ap­ply oint­ment or med­i­ca­tion to the eye. Gen­tly cover any cut or punc­ture wound with clean gauze. If there is a chem­i­cal in­jury, flush the eye with clean water. Seek med­i­cal help as soon as pos­si­ble.

IIIIIIDi­a­betic retinopa­thy oc­curs due to un­con­trolled di­a­betes.

All di­a­betic pa­tients must have a di­lated eye ex­am­i­na­tion at least once a year.

Pa­tients with early di­a­betic retinopa­thy are asymp­to­matic.

If left un­di­ag­nosed, it can lead to blind­ness.

Di­a­bet­ics are at risk of se­ri­ous vis­ual im­pair­ment if not screened.

Di­a­betic retinopa­thy is a pre­ventable cause of blind­ness.

Early diagnosis and treat­ment is es­sen­tial.

Re­fer­ring for screening by an eye doc­tor (oph­thal­mol­o­gist) can pre­vent blind­ness.

All newly di­ag­nosed di­a­betic pa­tients or those who have not had an eye ex­am­i­na­tion in the past year should be re­ferred to an eye doc­tor for screening.

Pa­tients can get a re­fer­ral from their doc­tor to the new Di­a­betic Retinopa­thy Screening Clinic at UHWI to get their eyes checked for di­a­betic retinopa­thy with dig­i­tal reti­nal pho­to­graphs.

Pa­tients will have blurred vi­sion af­ter di­lata­tion for six hours and should come ac­com­pa­nied. They must not drive them­selves to the ap­point­ment.



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