According to a survey, in India, the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy is around 16.9%.
Diabetes is a growing health problem in India, with more than 77 million people affected by the disease. According to the researchers, the number is expected to increase to 134 million by 2045. Diabetes is characterized by excess glucose in the blood, which can damage any system or organ in the body, including the eyes. As time passes, the disease damages the body’s blood vessels, which also includes the retina. Diabetic retinopathy is the term commonly used to describe any disorder of the retina that results from diabetes.
According to a survey, in India, the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy is around 16.9 percent. The disease can affect both the eyes and if left untreated for a long time, it can eventually lead to low vision or blindness. While some people may not experience any symptoms in the early stages, for some the symptoms can come and go. Common symptoms associated with diabetic retinopathy are new color blindness, poor night vision, distorted or blurred vision, streaks in vision, and difficulty seeing distant objects.
“Diabetic Mellitus is the new epidemic that is taking over the world and it is estimated that 439 million people worldwide will likely develop the condition by the end of 2030. Furthermore, one fifth of all people affected with diabetes are prone to developing eye-related conditions such as diabetic retinopathy. Among diabetics, the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases with the duration of the disease. Between 10 and 25 percent of diabetics are likely to develop retinal changes. Therefore, it is essential to maintain adequate blood sugar control to prevent the development and progression of ocular complications. In addition to early detection, changes in lifestyle and dietary habits can go a long way toward keeping diabetes under control and preventing the onset of diabetic retinopathy or other eye-related diseases, ”said Nikkhil K Masurkar, Director. ENTOD Pharmaceuticals executive.
Padmshree Prof Dr S Natarajan, Renowned Retina Specialist, Mumbai said: “The light sensitive layer at the back of the eye is known as the retina. It is like a film from a camera. It is responsible for detecting light and sending signals to the brain with the help of the optic nerve. With too much sugar in the blood, the blood vessels supplying the retina become blocked, causing them to bleed or leak. As a result, the retina begins to develop new blood vessels that turn out to be much weaker and bleed more quickly. When new blood vessels start to grow, it is commonly known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy, which is an advanced stage. The earliest stage is known as nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. “
“The retina can accumulate fluids and cholesterol during prolonged periods of uncontrolled high blood sugar levels. This accumulation of fluid causes swelling in the retina, changes in vision. This causes distortion and reduced vision. The best way to avoid diabetic retinopathy is by controlling blood sugar levels. For that you have to eat a balanced diet, exercise daily, stop smoking and drinking and have dilated eye exams every year, “he added.
He also says this to all patients: “Are you diabetic? Do you know that you can go blind?”
In addition to maintaining good lifestyle habits to keep blood sugar levels low, diabetic retinopathy is often treated with laser surgery to prevent blood vessels from leaking. Those with advanced diabetic retinopathy conditions may also require surgery to replace the fluid present in the back of the eye. Injections are also recommended to slow the effects of diabetic retinopathy and discourage the formation of weaker or abnormal blood vessels.