“With 50 percent of the patients with ‘eye complications’ suffering from diabetes, as observed at the internationally renowned ‘Dr Daljit Singh Eye Hospital , Amritsar’ alarm bells have rung about diabetes causing blindness.
The ignominious fact that India has emerged as the “Diabetics capital” of the world has compounded matters with untold damage to eyes due to diabetes causing complete vision loss.” These were excerpts of the Interactive Public Awareness Seminar on “Diabetic Eye Disease” organized by the Eye hospital at Hotel Alstonia today.
The key speaker Dr Indu Singh head of Department of Vitreo-Retinal diseases in hospital while addressing the audience quoted the rising graph of Diabetics in the country-“Earlier only 10 percent of patients with eye problems were found to be diabetic now every second person is a diabetic! In year 2000 India reported 31.7 million diabetics, only nine years later in 2009, the figures have doubled to a staggering 79.4 million which is nearly double the diabetic cases reported by China –the world’s most populated country –with 42.3 million diabetics.”She explained that “At the inception stage of diabetes, a bi-annual check-up becomes essential, to medically control the damage to the eyes at their very onset. Left untreated, it can lead to permanent blindness. The symptoms often start with blurring of vision, black spots called ‘floats’ in vision area and sudden vision loss.
Dr Indu Singh informed about the latest technologies in the diagnosis and treatment of advanced diabetic eye disease. She discussed the use of Optical coherence tomography (OCT) and Anti VEGF drugs. The eye specialist also shared her experiences of Vitreo-Retinal surgery in patients of advanced diabetic eye disease, that leads to bleeding inside the eye and detachment of the retina.
Noted Eye specialist and director of eye hospital Dr.Ravijit Singh while informing about the magnitude of the problem, enlightened, that more people suffer from Diabetes and Diabetes related problems than from all other diseases put collectively. He further said that diabetes is not called “Meetha Zehar” or “sweet poison” for nothing– It is a ‘persistent’ damaging disease, a ‘silent’ illness that causes destructive effects in the body.
“Diabetes affects most of the vital organs of the body or adds to the patient risk profile like getting heart attacks, brain strokes or Kidney failure. Significantly, the harmful effects of Diabetes on Eyes is often taken lightly or missed altogether. If left undiagnosed and untreated, Diabetes can cause severe visual loss and often complete and irreversible blindness.
He further added that the hospital’s Diabetic Eye campaign was to make the public aware and to literally “Open their eyes” to the devastating effects of Diabetes and guide them to team up with their Diabetologist and Eye surgeon to lead a fulfilling life.
He sought to remove the popular public perception about the disease that was often referred to as a “Lifestyle Disorder” affecting generally the affluent class, and stated that in the present scenario, the illness has spread its tentacles to every segment of society affecting people from all socio-economic groups.
Diabetologist Dr Kanwarjit Singh talked about the medical aspects of the problem of diabetes. He discussed ways and means of controlling blood sugar and emphasized on the adoption of a lifestyle for diabetics which would assure controlled blood sugar levels spelling a long and healthy life.
Dr Seema K Singh discussed about the angiography imaging of the retina. “Retinal angiography helps in detecting and grading the severity of diabetic eye disease”.
Dr. K.K. Bhalla talked about the use of “Green laser therapy” of the retina in cases of established “Diabetic Retinopathy”. He demonstrated the working of laser and the way in which it mitigates the diabetic eye problem. Adding, that Laser eye therapy was the mainstay of treatment, to stall, the diabetes eye disease.
The Director of the eye hospital shared his plans with the audience for starting an outreach program in the form of “Eye Clinic on Wheels” for screening diabetic patients in the rural areas while announcing free blood sugar testing in the eye hospital for all diabetics.