Caused by high blood glucose or too much sugar in the blood, Diabetes Mellitus can adversely affect almost any organ in our body, literally from head to toe that is brain stroke to foot or toe amputation and to raise awareness of diabetes as a global public health issue, November 14 is annually marked as World Diabetes Day. This year, the theme is “Access to Diabetes Care”.
According to a US survey conducted by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “Over time, diabetes can cause damage to your eyes that can lead to poor vision or even blindness. But you can take steps to prevent diabetic eye disease, or keep it from getting worse, by taking care of your diabetes.”
In India too, a national survey estimates the prevalence of Diabetic Retinopathy at 16.9 per cent in the country and the prevalence of sight-threatening DR at 3.6 per cent. Hence, diabetics must undergo regular ophthalmology screenings to identify and treat diabetic retinopathy in time.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Dr. Siddarth Sain, Senior Retina Consultant, Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals revealed, “Diabetes is a very common health issue in Indian men and women and it has been affirmed as per research that India is the world diabetic capital. Signs can come gradually before they’re diagnosed with the disease.”
Sharing tips on how to detect early sign of diabetes, Dr. Siddarth Sain explained, “Symptoms involving blurred vision is one of the persistent problems that occurs in people with diabetes. The lenses of our eyes, just like other tissues of our body pulls in a lot of fluid due to high levels of blood glucose in a human anatomy, affecting our ability to focus.”
He added, “Diabetes also can cause formation of new blood vessels in our retina. If the new blood vessels interfere with the normal flow of fluid out of the eye, pressure can build in the eyeball and can damage the optic nerve resulting in glaucoma, because of excessive sugar in the blood leading to blockage of tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, cutting off its blood supply.”
The health expert asserted that if similar kind of changes tend to persist without being treated, it is likely for the patient to suffer permanent blindness and vision loss. Talking about certain other symptoms that could help identify diabetes in a probable diabetic patient, Dr. Siddarth Sain stated, “There can be a few other symptoms like dark spots floating in the vision, fluctuating vision, dark or empty areas in vision in a probable diabetic patient.”
Some of the best ways to manage your diabetes and keep your eyes healthy, as per the US survey, are to “manage your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol, sometimes called the diabetes ABCs. If you smoke, get help to quit smoking. Have a dilated eye exam once a year.”