Diabetic retinopathy dubbed new “thief of sight” – Ophthalmologist
GPHC Ophthalmology Department Head, Dr Shailendra Sugrim
Diabetic Retinopathy has now been making waves as a condition which latently causes vision loss among the population, making it as much as a significant concern as glaucoma.
Head of the Ophthalmology Department of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Dr Shailendra Sugrim, on Friday shared that it is one of those growing conditions that seriously affect eyesight and regarded as the new “thief of sight”. When a patient is suffering from diabetes, there is a chance that this complication could develop.
“Diabetes is a major public health issue all over the world. The complications and issues of diabetes extend silently to our eyes. Glaucoma has always been called the silent thief of sight. Now we have a new thief of sight, that is, diabetic retinopathy,” Dr Sugrim indicated.
He shared that in recent years, the hospital has been active in tackling eye diseases which are known to cause visual impairment or blindness. Nevertheless, it is a topic which should be addressed.
“Over the past three years, the Department of Ophthalmology at GPHC has been championing the cause of diabetic-related eye diseases due to permanent cause of visual impairment and blindness…It’s a very important topic that we need to address. In 2016, the Georgetown Public Hospital initiated for the first time, Diabetic Eye Screening through the Guyana Diabetes Care Project which was funded by the World Diabetes Foundation,” the Ophthalmologist said.
He added, “The eye department of the Georgetown Public Hospital is the first main local player that helped developed the eye component that led to hospital introducing for the first time in the private system, laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy. Prior to this project, diabetic patients had to resort to private institutions to access laser treatment.”
Diabetic Retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue of the retina, located at the back of the eye. Symptoms may include blurred vision or transparent spots and dark strings that float in the field of vision.
The condition can develop in anyone who has types one or two diabetes. But the longer a patient is suffering from diabetes coupled with less controlled blood sugar presents a greater chance of developing this complication.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, when the blood glucose level remains high for a long period of time, it can damage tiny blood vessels at the back of the eyes.
“This damage can begin during prediabetes when blood glucose is higher than normal, but not high enough for you to be diagnosed with diabetes. Damaged blood vessels may leak fluid and cause swelling. New, weak blood vessels may also begin to grow. These blood vessels can bleed into the middle part of the eye, lead to scarring, or cause dangerously high pressure inside your eye”.