High blood sugar levels can cause loss of vision, says expert
Highlighting that people having high blood sugar levels are more vulnerable visual impairment, James S.K. Adams, Medical Director of Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, has said that diabetics must go for eye check-up at least once a year.
Dr. James, a vitreo-retinal surgeon, gave a powerpoint presentation during a talk organised by The Hindu, here on Wednesday.
“One in every three visually impaired persons in the world is an Indian and around 18 million people are suffering from blindness in the country. However, 80 % of the conditions causing blindness can either be prevented or treated,” said Dr. James.
Expressing concern over the rise in diabetes cases in India, he pointed out that the country had around 73 million diabetics and the figure was estimated to touch 134 million by 2045. He said early detection of diabetes could go a long way to prevent various eye ailments.
“High blood sugar levels can lead to diabetic retinopathy, cataract, glaucoma and diabetic macular edema, all of which can cause loss of vision over a period of time. The damage already done can not be reversed. This makes it imperative for diabetics to go for annual eye check-up. Dilation of pupils with eye drops is necessary to get the accurate results,” said Dr. James.
However, he added that merely checking the fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels at periodic intervals would not be enough as the sugar levels kept fluctuating. Dr. James advised diabetics to go for HbA1c test that can detect the three-month average blood sugar levels.
“More than 50 % of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. A brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, consuming less oil, consuming brown rice and other dietary changes can help keep the sugar levels under control,” said Dr. James.
He further said that people who got recurrent styes (small boils on the margins of eyelids, followed by swelling) should go for blood tests as styes were sometimes the first indicators of diabetes. There could be other causes for styes such as poor hygiene.
“Two-wheeler riders should protect their eyes from dust by wearing helmets fitted with visors. When dust goes into eyes, the pores next to the eyelashes get blocked causing ailments,” he added.