RAK Hospital educates Diabetes Challenge 2022 participants on ‘Diabetes Eyecare and Retinopathy’ during their latest ‘Diabeat’ Webinar
Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: Currently, 1 in 3 people with diabetes develop retinopathy over their lifetime. In their latest ‘Diabeat’ webinar on ‘Diabetes Eyecare and Retinopathy’, organised by RAK Hospital as part of the RAK Diabetes Challenge 2022 informative series, Dr Mohit Jain, Specialist Ophthalmologist at RAK Hospital touched upon various aspects of diabetic eye complications, retinopathy, eye care and treatment strategies.
Speaking at the webinar, Dr Jain said, “According to the IDF, an estimated 415 million adults globally were living with diabetes in 2015 while this figure is set to rise to 642 million by 2040. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness in young working adults and presently 1 in 3 people with diabetes go on to develop retinopathy over their lifetime. The prevalence of retinopathy in diabetics above 40 years of age is 34.6% and for vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy is 10.2%.
However, Diabetes does not mean loss of vision and that’s why it’s important to know the signs and get regular checks up done in order to receive the right treatment at the right time to avoid complications.”
Elaborating on the risk factors of retinopathy, Dr Jain stated, “Duration of diabetes and severity of hyperglycaemia are the major risk factors for developing retinopathy. Studies indicate that 25%-40% of diabetics may go on to develop retinopathy after 5 years and 50%-85% after 20 years. The condition is caused by persistently high blood sugar levels damaging the small thread-like blood vessels that supply the retina. The condition is progressive and can lead to complete loss of vision and sudden blindness. Retinopathy is higher among patients with hypertension, microalbuminuria, peripheral vascular disease, coronary artery disease and neuropathy while the raised HbA1c is associated with an increased risk of proliferative disease and Diabetic macular edema.”
As per a study done a few years ago in Al Ain, UAE on the prevalence of diabetes (DM) complications including retinopathy was present in 19% of the study population. However, 74% of patients were not aware of their condition and therefore understanding the signs, knowing the symptoms and having regular check-ups are recommended.
Specifying the symptoms, Dr Jain explained that the early stages of diabetic retinopathy usually don’t have any symptoms. Some people notice changes in their vision, like trouble reading or seeing faraway objects. These changes may come and go. In the later stages of the disease, blood vessels in the retina start to bleed into the vitreous  If this happens, you may see dark, floating spots or streaks that look like cobwebs. At advance stage patients may experience a sudden loss of vision due to massive vitreous haemorrhage or tractional retinal detachment.
“For each 10% decrease in the HbA1c (e.g., from 9% to 8.1%), there was a 39% decrease in the risk of progression of retinopathy. Good control of blood sugar level, hypertension, HbA1c and lipids, lowers the risk of development and progression of retinopathy”, commented Dr. Raza Siddiqui, Executive Director, RAK Hospital.
Tight blood sugar control, particularly when instituted early, can prevent or delay the development or progression of retinopathy. As per ‘The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial’, intensive control reduced the risk of the onset of retinopathy by 76% and the progression of retinopathy in Type 1 diabetes by 54%.
He concluded by recommending the eye examination schedule and specified that dilated eye examination should be done immediately upon diagnosis for type 2 DM and annually thereafter. Type 1 Diabetics should have their first eye checkup 3-5 years after diagnosis and follow up every year after that. As far as the treatment modalities are concerned there are quite a few effective treatment strategies for diabetes-related vision loss.
To know more about the challenge and to access the webinar login to www.rakdiabeteschallenge.com/webinar-arch.php

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