'Diabetes, hypertension can lead to eye ailments'

Diabetes and hypertension can lead to various eye ailments, two senior ophthalmologists have said. Both diabetes and hypertension are on the rise amongst residents of the region, the doctors said.

The ophthalmologists, Dr. Ajay Aurora and Dr. Manoj Rai Mehta, were talking at Synerge, a Continual Medical Education (CME) programme organised by ASTER in Dubai recently. The event was organised in co-ordination with the Dubai Health Authority. Over 90 doctors from UAE hospitals and clinics participated.

Dr. Ajay Aurora, Director at Delhi Retina Centre, and Senior Consultant Viteoretina at Aster Eye Clinic, New Delhi, said: “Diabetes is an epidemic and currently one of the major cause of concern in the UAE.

“Our body system is interrelated and it does not take much time for a disease like diabetes to also affect the eyes. Early diagnosis and providing the right treatment and medication is essential,” he said.

UAE has been ranked the second highest worldwide for diabetes prevalence. Dr. Aurora quoted with figures mentioning showing diabetes on the rise in Dubai. Apparently, over 26 per cent of diabetic cases in the UAE are from Dubai and every fourth person in the region is diabetic. More than 40 to 50 per cent of the people are at risk of diabetes in the region.

He explained how eyes get affected in diabetic conditions and those who are diabetic for over 20 years are at 60 per cent risk of their eyes being affected. In 2007, at Al Ain Hospital, more than 54 per cent patients were found diabetic or obese.

Diabetic or obese patients should be screened for diabetic eye diseases, and should be treated immediately, he said.

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the main eye diseases which occur when blood vessels in the retina change and the vessels may even swell and leak fluid in severe cases or close off completely. “In some cases, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. Severe diabetic retinopathy cannot be treated even with a cataract surgery. Micro infusion is used in advance cases. With the increase in diabetes cases, chances of having diabetic retinopathy is also high, “he said.

Dr. Manoj Rai Mehta, a medical director and mentor of Aster Eye Care initiative, said: “It is very important that doctors communicate with each other. A physician should provide medication keeping the ophthalmologist’s diagnosis in mind and vice versa. The UAE has a lot of hypertension cases. Hence it is essential that medication for hypertension is given to reduce the risk of eye diseases.”
 

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