Prevention is always better than cure, as the common saying goes. But often times, we find ourselves neglecting our health, thus further complications arise. What’s supposedly a short-term treatment can easily escalate to something more serious, and this results in problems that extend long-term. We can always change that course, though.
Contracting diabetes, for one, leads to a handful more of problems, including visual impairment. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy, wherein diabetic patients’ high blood sugar leads to damage to the blood vessels in the retina. “These vessels can swell and leak fluid, or they may constrict to prevent blood flow to different parts of the retina. These can lead to the formation of abnormal blood vessels in the retina that can eventually bleed and obstruct vision causing blindness,” explains Dr. Ricardo Tobias M. Papa, Program Head, Eye Instrument Center, The Medical City.
The longer the person is afflicted with diabetes, the higher the chances of developing this disease. Controlled hypertension must also be looked after, as it plays a role in the progression once you’re hit with diabetic retinopathy. So the solution? Turn the preventive route.
First step is to go get yourself checked. With milder cases of diabetic retinopathy that can show no symptoms at all, an eye examination is necessary. “The ideal time to have an eye examination is when the individual is first diagnosed with diabetes,” Dr. Papa says. Meanwhile, people with severe cases may already experience impaired color vision, spots or floaters in the vision, blurred or loss of vision, or dark or empty areas in vision.
“Signs of diabetic retinopathy that the ophthalmologist will notice on clinical examination can include microaneurysms or small red dots in the retina, dot/blot hemorrhages which appear to be slightly bigger than microaneurysms, and retinal edema and hard exudates,” the doctor further expounds. Once you learn about the status of your eye, taking care of your health is next up on your agenda.
The doctor recommends patients to do the following steps: maintaining good blood sugar and blood pressure control, scheduling regular check-ups with the endocrinologist, as well as regular visits with the ophthalmologist. Strictly following a diabetic diet is important, too, so load up on fruits and vegetables, low-fat food and whole grains.
For patients already suffering from diabetic retinopathy, treatments such as laser photocoagulation for the retina, intravitreal injection of medication into the back part of the eye and surgery to clear hemorrhage, and/or repair traction retinal detachments are available out there, procedures that The Medical City also offers.
“The objective is to prevent the complications from occurring,” Dr. Papa adds. It’s always better to be safe and healthy, than regret not getting treated when it’s too late.
So for any assistance in dealing with diabetic retinopathy or any other eye concerns, people can visit the Eye Instrument Center of The Medical City located on the second floor of the main hospital building or contact them at 988-1000 local 6252.
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