Diabetes mellitus is a condition that can cause complications in various organs of the body. Generally, complications of diabetes begin to be felt after years of diabetes, and can come sooner if blood sugar levels are left uncontrolled One of the complications of diabetes that is often overlooked is diabetic retinopathy that causes blindness.
Blindness is a serious impact of diabetes that is rarely known to most people, even by diabetics themselves. The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy eye disorders that lead to blindness in people with diabetes is quite common.
Diabetic retinopathy is among the top 3 most complications and the 5th largest cause of blindness worldwide. What are the symptoms and how to prevent diabetic retinopathy causing blindness in people with diabetes?
Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy Causes Blindness, Before Symptomatic
Explained by Prof. dr. Arief S Kartasasmita, SpM(K), PhD., based on 2017 data, from 425 million people with diabetes in the world, as many as 127 million (30%) have diabetic retinopathy complications and 12 million are already in the group whose condition threatens vision (10%).
In Indonesia, based on the results of the Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) survey conducted by the Association of Ophthalmologists (PERDAMI) in the period 2014 to 2016, as many as eight million people have visual impairment, 1.6 million suffer from blindness, and 6.4 million suffer from moderate to severe vision impairment.
“In Indonesia, 1 in 4 people with diabetic retinopathy fall into a category where vision is at risk of loss. Unfortunately, very few people with diabetic retinopathy conduct periodic examinations,” said Prof Arif in a webinar organized by Perdami and Novartis Indonesia, in the context of the campaign “Fight Against Blindness from Diabetes,” Thursday (11/12)
Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina, which is the part of the eye that serves to capture light. In people with diabetes, due to leakage and damage to blood vessels in the eye, will make the retina damaged.
The initial symptom of diabetic retinopathy is blurred vision and there are black dots/ These black dots are the result of blood leaking in the retina, and the longer it can expand into black patches. According to Prof, Arif, if not done prevention will cause problems and expensive maintenance costs.
People with diabetes have a high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy even if they have the following factors:
- have diabetes with a duration above 10 years after being diagnosed.
- poor blood sugar control
- presence of comorbids with hypertension
- Don’t want to take medication.
Regular Eye Check Is Mandatory!
To prevent diabetes retinopathy causes blindness, people with diabetes are obliged to do regular eye checks. People with type 1 diabetes, should immediately check the eyes once diagnosed and need to do an eye examination every 3-5 years.
As for people with type 2 diabetes, in addition to eye checks when diagnosed, should also conduct periodic eye examinations every year. Similarly, pregnant women with diabetes, should diligently check the eyes before conception or in the first terimester pregnancy.
“In fact, many patients do not check their eyes because they have no complaints or do not have time to check their eyes because they have to treat for other Diabetes Mellitus complications. Visual impairment and blindness will decrease the quality of life of patients and become a burden on families, communities and also the government,” said ophthalmologist Dr. Yeni D Lestari, SpM(K).
Dr Yeni added, “Eye screening in Diabetes Mellitus patients is essential to prevent blindness and should be part of the routine services provided by health facilities, especially in primary health facilities,” he added.
Well Diabestfriend, in an effort to prevent and treat early symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy in diabetics in Indonesia, PERDAMI together with Novartis Indonesia will conduct eye examinations on 10,000 diabetic patients in several major cities in Indonesia.
“In addition to screening in a number of health centers, clinics and hospitals, we also educate patients and the wider community about the risk of blindness due to Diabetes Mellitus. This campaign is in line with the spirit of the commemoration of World Vision Day on October 14 and World Diabetes Day on November 14,” explained the chairman of the United Power Association, dr.M Sidik, SpM(K).
In addition to periodic eye checks, people with diabetes need to control all risk factors, especially keeping blood sugar levels normal.