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Diabetics must get regular retina checks to avoid vision loss

A lack of awareness among the general physicians and diabetic patients,is leading to them losing vision to diabetes.

Written by Smriti Sharma Vasudeva | Chandigarh |
November 15, 2011 4:34:51 am

A lack of awareness among the general physicians and diabetic patients,is leading to them losing vision to diabetes. There has been an increase in cases of Diabetic Retinopathy (DR),a disorder which affects the vision of a diabetic patient.

At the Advanced Eye Centre of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER),about 10-15 new patients of diabetic retinopathy are presenting everyday. Other than these,there are about 300 follow-up cases which are seen during OPD days and in the special diabetic retinopathy clinic at the institute.

Speaking to Chandigarh Newsline,Dr Ramandeep Singh,assistant professor,at the Advanced Eye Centre,said,“One of the most important factors behind such a high number of DR patients is lack of awareness both among the doctors who are treating the diabetics and also the patients. As a result patients also ignore the symptoms. By the time,the patients are referred to us,their vision is substantially affected.”

“In all likelihood,a diabetic patient who is suffering from type II diabetes is at risk of developing DR after five years of suffering from diabetes. In case of type I diabetes,the risk is after about 8-10 years. In any case,a person suffering from diabetes is likely get DR in early stages as well if he has uncontrolled sugar levels and doesn’t adhere to a proper diet,” said Dr Singh.

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“Of the total cases referred to PGI’s Advanced Eye Centre,in 10 per cent cases patients have already suffered a severe loss of vision due to delay in diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr Singh.

“DR is symptomless in its early stage and screening is the only way to identify it. Timely treatment can prevent vision loss from DR. Diabetics should undergo regular screenings of the retina,” said Dr Mukesh Vatts,consultant at the department of ophthalmology at Fortis Hospital,Mohali.

“DR has two conditions: mild and severe. The mild condition is Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy,when the blood vessels leak and then close,and the severe form called proliferative diabetic retinopathy,when new blood vessels grow or proliferate. While the former can cause moderate vision loss ,the latter can cause permanent vision loss,” said Dr Singh.

Dr S P S Grewal,of Grewal Eye Institute,who examines about 15-20 patients everyday with DR,said,“While the number of patients suffering from DR have increased,with advanced technologies and better drugs,the severity has come down as compared to what the scenario was about a decade ago.”

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