Experts urge diabetics to get regular eye checkups

Ophthalmologists say early diagnosis necessary in controlling damage to sight due to diabetes

Haseeb Hanif October 03, 2022
EXPERTS' HUDDLE: PFFB Chairman Muhammad Abdullah Yusuf speaks at the Right to Sight Experts Talk, while VR Specialist Consultant Dr Shehzad Saeed, VR Specialist Prof Dr Aamir Awan, PFFB Chief Coordinator Rabail Pirzada and Express Forum Editor Ajmal Sattar Malik are present on the stage at the event organised by Novartis Pharma and Express Media Group, with the support of PFFB. PHOTO: EXPRESS


Novartis Pharma and Express Media Group in collaboration with Pakistan Foundation Fighting Blindness (PFFB) organised a discussion under the banner of 'Right to Sight Experts Talk' in which experts highlighted how diabetes affects different organs of the body, particularly the eye, and how those at risk may minimize the damage by preventive measures and regular medical checkups.

 Speaking on the session, the specialists said diabetes affects blood vessels of the eye.

 They urged diabetics to have eye checkup once a year.

 Damage to eye due to diabetes can be prevented by controlling blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, they said, adding early diagnosis and early treatment is important to prevent the disease progression.

 The Right to Sight Expert Talk was organized at a local hotel in Islamabad under the auspices of Novartis Pharma and Express Media Group and with the support of Pakistan Foundation Fighting Blindness (PFFB).

 The organisers included PFFB Chief Coordinator Rabail Pirzada, PFFB Chairman Muhammad Abdullah Yousuf and consultant VR specialists Dr Shahzad Saeed and Prof Dr Amir Awan, while Ajmal Sattar Malik, forum editor of Daily Express, was the host.

 Ophthalmologist Prof Dr Amir Awan while expressing his opinion in the expert talk said that diabetes affects different organs of the body, including the eye and its vision.

 Diabetes can affect the middle layer of the eye while also causing loss of vision.

 The middle part of the eye is very important for vision.

 If water or fluid accumulates in it, the vision becomes blurred due to swelling, he said.

 Dr Awan advised the diabetics to have an eye checkup once a year as the risk to the eyes can be minimised with regular checkups and timely medical intervention.

 He continued that eye diseases caused by diabetes can be prevented by controlling blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.

 Diabetic patients need an annual check-up.

 If an eye disease progresses, one must see a doctor at least once in six months.

 Cataract and Glaucoma can be caused by diabetes.

 Ophthalmologist Dr Shahzad Saeed while addressing the programme said that diabetes demands its patients to make lifestyle changes.

 It is important that the patient knows that he has diabetes.

 When the disease becomes complicated, treatment options also become limited.

 Dr Saeed said diabetes is like a termite which can damage its victim's overall health.

 Diabetic people must monitor whether their blood sugar level is going up or down.

 High or low levels of sugar can lead to leakage of blood vessels.

 There are multiple stages of diabetes associated eye disease.

 In the last stage of diabetes, the eye membrane becomes very weak which cannot be treated.

 It is important to catch it at an early stage for treatment.

 Routine checkups of eyes are must for diabetics, Dr Saeed said, adding, diabetes also causes cataracts, including glaucoma.

 Eye problems from diabetes are now treatable, Dr Saeed said and added that he has patients living with diabetes for the last 10 years and their eye disease has been prevented from progressing with treatment.

 "If the eyelid surgery is successful, there may be some improvement, but if the cells are dead that is responsible for the vision eyesight cannot be restored even by retinal surgery," Dr Saeed said.

 PFFB Chief Coordinator Rabail Pirzada said that her foundation has undertaken research on diabetes led eye problems.

 PFFB makes people aware cousin marriage risks.

 Pirzada said that she lost her eye sight at the age of 12.

 "Our organisation improves the lives of the blind children.

 We provide free education and audio cassettes to children from class five to masters.

 We have also created our IT lab for the blind while helping develop several such facilities in government schools," she said.

 Blind people should also be aware of what is going on in the world.

 "We teach them cooking, lifestyle and self-defence among other things," Rabail said and lamented that visually impaired people face many challenges like employment and mobility.

 PFFB Chairman Muhammad Abdullah Yousuf said the foundation aims to help and support blind people by providing them education and employment.

 The World Audio Program came in 1995.

 Its purpose is to provide education, information and entertainment to blind people.

 "Our audio library has over 1,200 titles for the blind.

 We have a national project under which computer labs are to be built across the country.

 We have computer labs in Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Karachi and Kashmir.

 Workshops for the blind are conducted through these labs.

" PFFB Chairman said the foundation is also imparting training to visually impaired persons on personal grooming, jewelery making skills and cooking through its IT center project.

 PFFB is a member of Retina International Body.

 If there is a development about retina in any country, we keep an eye on it so that we can help our people.

 He said that blindness is a major problem that becomes a lifetime problem for people.

 Let's see what can be done to solve this problem.


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