One in five new patients who had their eyes screened for diabetic damage at a medical centre in Dubai were found to be already suffering from retinal damage.
Diabetics risk eye damage
DUBAI // One in five new patients who had their eyes screened for diabetic damage at a medical centre in Dubai were found to be already suffering from retinal damage.
The statistic indicates that people with diabetes were often unaware of complications they had developed due to the disease and were too late in seeking medical attention, according to staff at Dubai Diabetes Centre, which opened two years ago.
When a patient's blood glucose levels fluctuate it can damage the body's blood vessels. In the eye, this can cause retinal damage, sometimes resulting in total blindness.
"We have been consistently conducting screening for diabetic damage to the eyes and results showed that approximately one in five diabetics are unaware that they already suffer from retinal damage," said Dr Bruno Blanchon, a consultant at Dubai Diabetes Centre.
In 2010, the centre received 1,260 new patients - 678 women and 582 men - as well as 7,084 follow-up patients.
Dr M Hamed Farooqi, the director of Dubai Diabetes Centre, said: "Diabetics need to be aware that a reduction in their sugar level is directly related to a reduction in the risk of developing diabetic complications like blindness, heart attacks, strokes and in severe cases, amputations."
The A1C test, which assesses the average three month blood sugar level of a diabetic, should have a reading of seven per cent or less in most cases. However, the centre had come across cases where the reading was 14 per cent, which pointed towards uncontrolled diabetes.
"We find many diabetics approach us when their blood sugar levels are significantly high and they need immediate medical attention," said Dr Farooqi. "For those who don't have diabetes, the message is to make the effort to get screened, especially if they belong to a high risk group and have a family history or obesity. If they have diabetes, they need to control their blood sugar level so that their body does not suffer the effects of diabetes."