‘Di­a­bet­ics in GCC should get their eyes screened’

Muscat Daily - - NATION -

Pa­tients suf­fer from di­a­betic retinopa­thy due to poor di­a­betes man­age­ment and fail­ure to seek regular eye check-ups

There were around 54.8mn di­a­bet­ics in the MENA re­gion in 2019 ac­cord­ing to IDF Di­a­betes At­las. This con­di­tion is present in 12.8 per cent of the MENA pop­u­la­tion and al­most half of the cases re­main un­de­tected. Out of th­ese al­most 20-25 per cent suf­fer from some sort of vis­ual im­pair­ment due to di­a­betes. Hence, the need for grow­ing aware­ness for this health con­di­tion in the re­gion.

Dr Raeba Mathew, HoD, Spe­cial­ist Oph­thal­mol­o­gist, Cana­dian Spe­cial­ist Hospi­tal, Dubai, said, “The main rea­sons di­a­bet­ics suf­fer from vis­ual im­pair­ment is poor man­age­ment of the con­di­tion and fail­ure to seek an eye check-up. For di­a­betic pa­tients an eye check-up is just as im­por­tant as check­ing the blood sugar lev­els; the pa­tients don’t seem to be aware of that.”

Di­a­betic retinopa­thy is a con­di­tion where high blood sugar lev­els dam­age the retina, the nerve layer lin­ing the in­ner­most part of the back of the eye.

It can lead to vi­sion im­pair­ment by leak­age of the fluid into the cen­tral part of the retina, caus­ing a grad­ual loss of cen­tral vi­sion. It can also lead to sud­den loss of vi­sion due to the bleed­ing into the cav­ity of the eye­ball, caused by rup­ture of small new blood ves­sels that grow in the retina be­cause of di­a­betes where the pa­tient may no­tice float­ing dots or even to­tal loss of vi­sion.

The de­tec­tion of retinopa­thy can be done by reti­nal ex­am­i­na­tions fol­lowed by digital flu­o­res­cein an­giog­ra­phy and a reti­nal scan. “Eye check-ups are not the top pri­or­ity for di­a­betic pa­tients who end up con­fus­ing them for the rou­tine eye check-ups with the op­tometrist. But in fact, they are en­tirely dif­fer­ent from each other and are cov­ered by most in­surance com­pa­nies,” added Dr Raeba.

“Early di­ag­no­sis of the con­di­tion is very es­sen­tial in the treat­ment of di­a­betic retinopa­thy. The first reti­nal ex­am­i­na­tion should be done at ini­tial di­ag­no­sis of Di­a­betes mel­li­tus and there­after ev­ery year. Pa­tients di­ag­nosed with di­a­betes be­fore the age of 30 years may have a higher chance of de­vel­op­ing retinopa­thy,” added Dr Raeba.

Dr Raeba Mathew

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