DHA Twitter Clinic: Medical checkups one should not miss - Emirates24|7

DHA Twitter Clinic: Medical checkups one should not miss

From right after birth, at the ages 3-5 and 10-12 and again in many circumstances we could find ourselves in as adults eye care is an important part of preventive healthcare.

Observing World Sight Day, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) discussed several aspects of eye care this week, advising when a checkup should not be missed.

Eye care in children

The most important eye screening during childhood are right after birth, at the age of 3-5 and once again at the age of 10-12.

“These are the main screenings recommended for children. If any defects are spotted, doctors will advise regular follow-ups,” said Manal Taryam, Ophthalmologist and CEO of the Primary Health Care Sector at the DHA.

However, there is much more parents can do to keep an eye on their children’s good eye health. For one, outdoor activities do great benefits.

It is recommended that children play in open areas like outdoor or indoor playgrounds that are wide since wide spaces are known to aid in the development of healthy vision, the doctor explained.

When staying inside, distance to objects should be taken in consideration.

“Research shows that the chances of developing short-sightedness increases in children who do not keep sufficient distance between their eyes and a book, tablet PCs and television. In fact, dry eyes is an emerging problem in children who excessively use tablets and other such gadgets.”

Eye care in diabetics

One of the complications that can arise in diabetics is retinopathy. Diabetes retinopathy is the number one cause of irreversible blindness and a silent disease, which is painless and hardly noticeable in the early stages. “That is why yearly diabetes eye-checks are essential,” said Taryam.

During Gitex Technology Week, the DHA launched its latest technology to enhance early detection through regular checkup. Instead of making an appointment with the ophthalmologist, the diabetic patient can now do the checkup at the diabetics center through the digital retinal camera.

“Diabetics who visit the DHA facilities will no longer have to go to an ophthalmologist for their annual eye check-ups. Every diabetic clinic in DHA primary healthcare centres are fitted with digital retinal cameras. Patients can get their retinal check-up at the centre during their regular follow-up appointment and the films will be sent electronically to the ophthalmology department at Dubai Hospital,” said Essa Al Maidoor, Director-General of the DHA.

Patients who have established diabetes retinopathy should visit a retina specialist and not a general ophthalmologist if they want to treat their diabetes retinopathy accurately, advised Taryam.

Eye care in cataract

Cataract is the major cause of reversible blindness in the UAE and worldwide, said Al Taryam.

The disease is caused by a range of factors, ageing being the most common. However, exposure to sunlight is another factor. Ultraviolet light, specifically UV-B, has been shown to cause cataracts, and some evidence indicates sunglasses worn at an early age can slow its development in later life. Further, cigarette smoking and steroids are believed to cause cataract.

“If people want to delay the development of cataract, they should protect their eyes from sunlight, avoid smoking and eat a healthy diet,” said Al Taryam.

Luckily, cataract is reversible and treatments often have a 100 percent success rate. Patients should visit a optholmologist when they experience difficulty in appreciating colors and changes in contrast, driving, reading, recognizing faces, and coping with glare from bright lights.