Are you a Diabetic Patient? [Archives:2001/03/Health]

January 15 2001

Mahfouth A Bamashmus
Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Ibn-Al-Haitham Clinic
University of Science & Technology, Sanaa

Diabetes mellitus or sugar diabetes means that the body cannot cope normally with sugar and other carbohydrates in the diet.
Diabetic patients have a higher risk to develop serious eye problems.
Dont joke with your diabetes. It should be well controlled to prevent the complications of diabetes in the eye and in other parts of your body.
Diabetes is one of the main causes of blindness in Yemen and usually patients present late because of lack of education.
Loosing your sight from a treatable disease: –
Most sight loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented. But it is vital that it is diagnosed early.
Regular eye visits to your eye doctor are extremely important.
Diabetes can cause temporary blurring of vision. These are signs that your diabetes is not well controlled.
Cataract (opacity of the lens) can be treated easily nowadays by surgery and intraocular lens implant.
The most serious eye condition that affects diabetic patients is damage to the retina, that is the film of the eye.
The importance of regular visits to the eye doctor: –
Although your vision may be good, changes can be taking place to your retina that needs treatment: –
Early diagnosis is vital
Have an eye examination every year
Do not wait until your vision has deteriorated to have an eye test.
Remember, however, that if your vision is getting worse, this does not necessarily mean you have diabetic retinopathy. It may simply be a problem that can be corrected by glasses.
Most sight-threatening diabetic problems can be prevented by laser treatment if it is given early enough. For the advanced cases surgery can sometimes help to restore some vision.
What is laser treatment?
Laser treatment is carried out at the eye clinic and you will not have to stay in hospital. It is usually not painful.
Laser treatment prevents deterioration of your vision but doesnt restore what is lost.
No treatment is possible without some side effects, but the risks of laser treatment are far less than the risks of not having treatment.
Ask your physician about the problems of diabetes and the best way to prevent them.
If you have diabetes, you need to visit your eye doctor for a check-up every year.
The earlier the disease is diagnosed the better the results of laser treatment, because it is extremely difficult to treat advanced cases.
Laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy aims to save the sight you have not to make it better.
Routine eye exam by an eye specialist is very important. It is your sight and your eyes need every care they deserve.
Reference: Royal College of Ophthalmologists educational leaflets, London.