Prevention of Blindness Week India:
The first week of April is dedicated to Prevent of Blindness in India. Every year roughly 3.5 billion people suffer from total or partial blindness in India.
According to National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB), the main causes of blindness are
- Corneal blindness
- Surgical complication
- Posterior Segment Disorder
- Posterior Capsular Opacification
The prolonged exposure to glaring monitors and eye strains usually lead to fatigue and headaches. This strain can lead to retinal damage which can further worsen leading to vision loss. In diabetic patients eye related issues are termed diabetic retinopathy.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a common ailment for people suffering from diabetes This usually occurs when the patient has high blood sugar level and can significantly cause the blood vessels to swell.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
- Blurry vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Impaired colors
- Spots in the vision
- Complete vision loss
- Empty areas in the vision
Major reasons for diabetic retinopathy:
Diabetic retinopathy is caused due to prolonged rise in blood sugar levels. Over time this can lead to weakening and damaging of the blood vessel in the eye region.
A risk of this is the possibility of having hemorrhage or permanent eye damage.
Diabetic retinopathy stages:
Diabetic retinopathy has 2 major stages:
1.Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy:
This is the term used when diabetic retinopathy is at its early stage. In this case, blood vessels start to swell and in some cases bulge. The vessels can leak fluid and the condition is called macular edema. This condition can lead to alter in vision of the patient.
2. Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy:
In this case along with your original blood vessel, new unhealthy vessels start to grow. The new vessels are unable to feed the retina and can bleed into it as well.
How does it affect if unchecked?
Any diabetes patient who does not check sugar level or does not incorporate a diabetic retinopathy treatment post diagnosis is at a risk of:
- Vitreous Hemorrhage:
The new blood vessels can bleed into the centre of your eye. In some cases this occurrence can make you lose your vision completely.
- Retinal Detachment:
The abnormality in blood vessels can stimulate the growth of scar tissues. This phenomenon can pull the retina back from the eye.
If you do not control diabetes associated symptoms it can lead to vision loss completely.
In this case, new blood vessels start growing on the front part of your eye and can interfere with the flow of eye fluid damaging the nerves as a result.
Steps to avoid retinopathy:
The prevention of diabetic retinopathy is diabetes patients should include:
- Regular eye check-ups
- Monitoring of blood sugar level
- Get a glycosylated haemoglobin test
- Control diabetes
Monitoring of blood glucose levels and regular eye check-ups are important
Getting yourself a glucometer is helpful. A glucometer helps monitor fluctuations in the blood sugar levels. Variations if any can be shared with your doctor immediately.
Also getting regular eye checkups as mentioned above is a wise choice.