November 14th was World Diabetes Day – the perfect time to touch upon Diabetes and its ominous presence in our daily lives.

Before you spoon that sugar into your coffee or tea or fresh fruit juice, take a moment to absorb these alarming facts.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a common disease and it happens when the insulin production in the body decreases. What is unfortunate about diabetes is that, Type 1 Diabetes cannot be prevented. In fact, the triggers that are thought to generate the process that results in the destruction of the body’s insulin-producing cells are still under investigation.

While acknowledging that Type 1 diabetes is not preventable, patients can take the following steps, under the professional guidance of doctors and dieticians, to prevent the progression to Type 2 diabetes:

  • Regular physical activity
  • Balanced and nutritious diet
  • Effective stress and depression management
  • Regular sleep pattern

Diabetic Retinopathy

One of the most common long-term effects of diabetes is Diabetic Retinopathy.

How does it happen?

Sugar in the blood can lead to blockage of the blood vessels that nourish the retina.  To combat this damage, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels. But, these new vessels don’t necessarily develop properly; thereby leading to leakages which cause Diabetic Retinopathy.

What can I do about it?

Doctors strongly recommend that anyone with Type 1 diabetes have an eye examination within 5 years of being diagnosed with diabetes, and a regular annual examination thereafter.

While there is no treatment for early stage Diabetes Retinopathy, detecting the condition at an early stage offers the advantage of controlling/ arresting its progression to advanced stages through effective blood sugar management.

Advanced stage treatment options include laser intervention, medicines in the form of injections or even surgery.

If it goes undetected and uncontrolled, Diabetes Retinopathy can cause loss of vision.

If you’re reading this, and you or your loved ones are diagnosed with diabetes, it’s time to get those eyes checked, now and on a regular basis.  Visit your trusted eye doctor for a simple check-up, or if you need support, come to us.

As part of my-healthconnect initiatives, we have empanelled eye specialists that include Cornea/Laser Refractive Surgeons as well as Vitreoretinal Surgeons. Our initiatives have been helpful in connecting patients in sub-urban India as well as overseas patients to specialist surgeons in India for an opinion and, where required, the necessary follow-up treatment.