CHENNAI: The incidence of diabetes-induced eye problems has increased significantly in the last decade. Doctors warn that people who have diabetes should watch out for vision loss. People with diabetes for more than five years are more prone to develop diabetic retinopathy.
Dr Padma Preetha, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital said, “The worrying rate of increase in the prevalence of Diabetes is a great cause of concern, and it has also significantly induced an increase in diabetic eye problems. The main challenge of fighting diabetic retinopathy is early diagnosis and treatment. Whenever the blood glucose stays high every time, it can damage the tiny blood vessels in the back of your eyes. If they have had Diabetes for more than five years, most patients will likely develop diabetic retinopathy."
She added that though the symptoms might start as a mild disease, Diabetic Retinopathy can cause severe visual impairment and, in some cases, blindness, especially in diabetic patients with high sugar levels. "The biggest cause of concern is people are unaware and have no idea of the consequences that ignoring Diabetes can have on the eye. Most of the patients who come to our hospital with diabetic retinopathy are either undiagnosed with Diabetes yet or have already been diagnosed but are on irregular treatment. Most of these patients haven’t visited their physician or diabetologist for more than six months or one year, making the problem more severe.” Dr Rajiv Raman, Senior Consultant Vitreoretinal Services at Sankara Nethralaya said that due to poor awareness regarding eye diseases among patients, there is an increase in longevity in lens "Cataract" and "Age-related macular degeneration". Likewise, we have seen a rapid increase in diabetic retinal disease, due to an increase in diabetes in India.
Experts say that diabetic Retinopathy can be broadly classified as non-proliferative and proliferative Retinopathy. Non-proliferative diabetic Retinopathy is the earlier term for Retinopathy. The retina is the nerve layer of the eyes that connects the eyes to the brain and helps interpret images.